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Fully Funded Health and Care Research Wales (HCRW) PhD Scholarship: Repurposed drug targeting of metabolic flexibility in the tumour microenvironment

Medical School

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Dr J Cronin No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

This scholarship is funded by Health and Care Research Wales (HCRW).

Start date: October 2020 or January 2021

Subject areas: Cancer; metabolomics; biochemistry; genetics; drug discovery

A substantial number of cancer patients present with late-stage aggressive disease that is likely to become therapy-resistant, frequently leaving surgery or end-of-life care as the only options. Often treatments are limited and, on the whole, have not changed in more than 40-years. However, developing brand-new drugs is an incredibly expensive (around $3 billion) and arduous-process, taking around 9-years to reach clinical trials and 15-years to market; and has a success-rate of only around 5% in cancer.

Drug repurposing is the process of finding new uses for existing drugs, outside the scope of their original disease target. Encouragingly, combinations of repurposed drugs have been shown to eradicate tumours in cancer models.

Metabolic reprogramming is now considered a hallmark of cancer, contributing to clinical-resistance, and has become an area of accelerated research over the last decade. This studentship will explore metabolic flexibility in therapy-resistant cancers and investigate targeting these cancers with the use of repurposed drug combinations. The aims of the studentship are to 1) use metabolomics to examine the dependence of cancer cells on alternative metabolic fuels to prototypical glucose; 2) examine the potential for repurposing preapproved drugs for the treatment of metabolically flexible therapy-resistant cancers; and 3) assess how these drug combinations affect the metabolic landscape in cancer cells, identifying further vulnerabilities and novel therapeutic targets.

This studentship is in collaboration with Dr Nick Jones, Swansea University Medical School, Dr Emma Vincent, University of Bristol and Professor Andrew Tee, Cardiff University. Students will gain experience in, amongst others, stable isotope tracing (SITA); metabolic assays; short-interfering RNA; Seahorse XF Bioanalyzer.

Interviews will take place (via Zoom) in the first week of September.

Candidates must have a minimum of upper second class Honours degree in a relevant discipline (medicine; genetics; biochemistry, chemistry).

For candidates whose first language is not English, we require IELTS 6.5 (with 5.5 in each component) or equivalent. Please visit our website for a list of acceptable English language tests.

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to UK/EU candidates only.

Funding Notes

This scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend of £15,009. Funding for consumables is included.
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