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Developing new cancer therapeutic agents from foodstuff: characterizing galectin interaction with novel inhibitors

   Institute of Systems, Molecular and Integrative Biology

  ,  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Applications will be reviewed until a suitable candidate is appointed.

Galectins are a family of carbohydrate-binding proteins that are commonly over-expressed by many types of cancers such as colorectal, lung, breast, prostate cancer and melanoma. Overexpression of galectins (e.g. galectin-1 and -3) plays important roles in cancer progression and metastasis via multiple mechanisms. Developing new therapeutic agents to target galectin-mediated actions is increasingly recognized as a promising therapeutic strategy for cancer treatment and is currently being explored by several biotech/pharmaceutical companies. Recent research in our laboratories have identified several novel compounds (from a dietary source) as strong galectin inhibitors that can effectively inhibit galectin-mediated metastasis in mice. This project aims to further investigate the impact of these novel compounds on galectin-mediated tumour cell behaviours and to dissect their interactions at atomic, molecular and cellular levels. The information obtained from this study will aid further development of those novel compounds as potential dietary agents for cancer treatment.

Applicants with a good degree in any area of life/biological/medical science are welcome to apply. The successful candidate will get good training of various modern techniques in cancer biology, molecular biology, biochemistry and structural biology. You will join a dynamic research team composed of postdoctoral researchers and PhD students to work in a multi-disciplinary environment in an exciting area of cancer biology and biochemistry. You will also be offered opportunities to get training of transferable skills by enrolling various training programmes run by the University of Liverpool.

For any enquiries or to express your interest in applying then please contact Professor Lu-Gang Yu on:

Funding Notes

The project is open to sponsored (or self-funded) PhD applicants only. If you have the right qualifications, aptitude and desire, and have secured funding, either from your government or other sources, your application will be considered. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Principal Supervisor directly to discuss their application and the project.
Details of costs to study at University of Liverpool can be found on the University website:
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A £2000 ISMIB Travel and Training Support Grant may be available to new self-funded applicants.


1. Zhao Q, Guo X, Stone P, Nash G, Hilkens J, Rhodes JM, Yu LG. (2009). Circulating galectin-3 promotes metastasis by modifying MUC1 localization on cancer cell surface. Cancer Research 69:6799-806.
2. Duckworth CA, Guimond SE, Sindrewicz P, Hughes AJ, French NS, Lian LY, Yates EA, Pritchard DM, Rhodes JM, Turnbull JE, Yu LG. (2015). Chemically modified, non-anticoagulant heparin derivatives are potent galectin-3 binding inhibitors and inhibit circulating galectin-3-promoted metastasis. Oncotarget 6:23671-23687.
3. Wang W, Sindrewicz-Goral P, Chen C, Duckworth CA, Pritchard DM, Rhodes JM, Yu LG. (2021). Appearance of peanut agglutinin in the blood circulation after peanut ingestion promotes endothelial secretion of metastasis-promoting cytokines. Carcinogenesis.42:1079-1088.

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