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Facile and Accurate Diagnosis of Cancer: designing and establishing a facile and reliable diagnostic toolkit for various types of tumours

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Y Tsai
    Dr L Luk
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted

Project Description

Project title: Facile and Accurate Diagnosis of Cancer

Cancer, despite the high research investment, remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide and costs over £15 billion per year in the UK. Often, a lack of accurate diagnostic methods results in a delay in treatment with poor prognosis. Hence, it is of exceptional importance to develop an effective, inexpensive and accurate diagnostic tool for cancer detection.

We are seeking a highly motivated and intelligent student to design and establish a facile and reliable diagnostic toolkit for various types of tumours. Mutations of Janus kinase (JAK) and Src kinase are commonly found in cancer cells. Because they are responsible for proliferation activation in cancer cells, JAK and Src kinases are viewed as drug targets and a number of inhibitors have been developed. Here, we will exploit the nature of these interactions and design inhibitor derivatives, which upon binding with the kinase mutants will generate a highly reactive organocatalytic moiety. Such a functional moiety can serve as a “molecular amplifier” to report the presence of cancer cells via organocatalysis, and thus an efficient diagnostic toolkit can be developed.

This is an exciting and challenging cross-disciplinary PhD research programme, in which the student will advance in four separate research areas:
•Chemical catalysis and Analytical Science. A highly efficient catalytic reaction will be screened and used to accurately report the presence of cancer cells.
•Enzymology. A thorough understanding of cancer cell enzymology will be achieved through training in this programme.
•Cancer Biology. The physiology of cancer cells will be greatly investigated.
•Chemical biology. By merging the technical advance and fundamental knowledge gained from this work, the student will consequently develop a highly efficient chemical biology tool to detect TB.

We anticipate that upon finishing this program the student will transform into a professional (bio)chemist with expert knowledge in these research areas. A series of publications (and patents) are also expected.

The student will receive extensive training in various organic and biological chemistry skills, including organic synthesis, (chiral) HPLC, NMR and mass spectrometry, molecular cloning, protein preparation, enzyme and chemical catalysis, all of which are routinely used in both academic and industrial laboratories. In addition to these technical aspects, the student will be trained in scientific writing through preparation of manuscripts and/or patents. Lastly, in order to become a well-rounded professional scientist, the student will also join our routine outreach and conference activities for public speaking and networking.

Dr Yu-Hsuan Tsai
& Dr Louis Luk

Start date: 1 October 2017

Academic criteria:

Applicants should have, or expect to obtain, a minimum of an upper second-class honours degree (2:1) or European equivalent and a Masters in Chemistry, Biochemistry or a related discipline. The successful candidate should have a strong background in biochemistry or organic chemistry. First-hand experience in a relevant area of chemistry such as enzymology and synthetic chemistry is highly desirable. A highly motivated and dedicated student will gain a thorough training in synthetic biology and be rewarded with a highly stimulating project that will shape the future of this exciting new research program.

The deadline for applications is 31st July 2017

Cardiff University reserves the right to close applications early should sufficient applications be received.

Funding Notes

This studentship consists of full UK/EU tuition fees at UK/EU rate, as well as a Doctoral Stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum £14,296 p.a. for 2016/17.

Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements


Interested applicants should apply for Doctor of Philosophy (Chemistry), with a start date of October 2017 via Cardiff University's Online Application Service (link below), and should include a brief covering letter outlining their motivation and experience for the position, as well as their curriculum vitae and the names of at least two referees.

Informal enquiries may be directed to Dr Yu-Hsuan Tsai ([email protected]) or Dr Louis Luk ([email protected]).

Applications will be evaluated on an ongoing basis until the position is filled.

Related Subjects

How good is research at Cardiff University in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 23.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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