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Hydrolytic enzymes driving colorectal cancer development

   Department of Metabolism, Digestion & Reproduction

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  Dr R Barry, Prof G Frost  Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

We are seeking a high performing undergraduate or Master's student who has a strong desire to undertake a PhD in Dr Rachael Barry’s Research group at Imperial College London.

 Our research aims to identify and characterise hydrolytic enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract that drive inflammatory diseases such as colorectal cancer. Hydrolytic enzymes are vital for human health, and work by breaking down other molecules including proteins. However, too much hydrolase activity contributes to diseases such as IBD and cancer.

 The PhD will functionally characterise hydrolases that we have identified as being biologically active in colorectal cancer samples and explore whether these enzymes are also active in conditions which predispose to cancer, including chronic inflammation and poor nutrition.To achieve this, we will apply chemical-approaches to cutting-edge animal and colon culture models including organoids and gut-on-a-chip, as well as patient samples. By the end of the PhD the student will have identified and characterised hydrolases contributing to gut inflammation and colorectal cancer. This will form the basis of future biomarker platforms and drug-discovery – an important step towards tackling colorectal cancer.

 The successful applicant will undertake research in the Section of Nutrition Research within Imperial’s Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction and at the new £170M state-of-the-art Molecular Sciences Research Hub. Both provide an ideal environment to pursue a PhD and build your career in research. You will utilise multi-disciplinary approaches and have access to cutting-edge techniques and be part of a dynamic and supportive research environment.

 This studentship would suit a motivated cell biologist, biochemist, or chemist who is passionate about research at the interface with biomedicine, and with a strong interest in gut health. Applicants must have/or expect to gain a first-class honours degree, or overseas equivalent, in cell biology or a closely related area. A Master’s degree is desirable, but not essential. All Imperial College PhD entry requirements must be met (see Applications are also required to meet Imperial College’s English language requirements. Please see the following link:

Imperial College London provides excellent opportunities for research students' training. All students benefit from a full programme of training in research and transferable skills organised through the Graduate School, the quality of which has been recognised several times at the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards.

Funding Notes

The PhD project is open to UK applicants who are applying to funding sources. We are happy to provide support and feedback during the application process. In our department, there is potential for: 1) The President’s PhD Scholarships; 2) MRC DTP for Interdisciplinary Science in Health (MultiSci). More details of funding opportunities can be found below:
Potential applicants should contact Dr Rachael Barry ([Email Address Removed] ) as soon as possible but by 1st January 2022 to discuss the project and further details of the application for PhD scholarships.
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