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Impact of alternative mRNA splicing on the human proteome

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  • Full or part time
    Dr V Wickramasinghe
    Prof R. Pearson
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Alternative splicing of RNA transcripts has emerged as a key mechanism for enabling biological complexity within the human genome. Alternative splicing has long been assumed to underlie the expansion of proteomic diversity. However, the extent to which this increased genomic complexity contributes to the generation of proteomic diversity is largely unknown.

This fundamental biological question is of critical importance to human health, given the recent identification of perturbed RNA splicing as a causative factor in cancer. We have developed an integrative approach to ask whether dynamic perturbations in mRNA splicing patterns alter the composition of the proteome. This project will reveal the impact of alternative splicing on the proteome.

The Wickramasinghe Lab investigates the molecular basis of how messenger RNA (mRNA) is selectively processed and exported from the nucleus into the cytoplasm and how deregulation of these processes contributes to human cancer. Specifically, we aim to:
• Understand how selective mRNA export pathways are regulated and activated
• Investigate the impact of alternative mRNA splicing on the human proteome.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne Australia
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre is Australia’s only public hospital solely dedicated to cancer, and home to the largest cancer research group in Australia. Cancer is a complex set of diseases, and modern cancer research institutes such as Peter Mac conduct research covering a diversity of topics that range from laboratory-based studies into the fundamental mechanisms of cell growth, translational studies that seek more accurate cancer diagnosis, clinical trials with novel treatments, and research aimed to improve supportive care.
All students engaged in postgraduate studies at Peter Mac are enrolled in the Comprehensive Cancer PhD (CCPhD) program, regardless of which university they are enrolled through. The program is managed by the Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology (The University of Melbourne), based at Peter Mac.

Tapping into the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience offered by the ten partners of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) alliance, the University of Melbourne’s Comprehensive Cancer PhD Program provides a unique opportunity for multidisciplinary cancer-related PhD candidates to experience clinical and research activities across the alliance.

The Comprehensive Cancer PhD program builds on established conventional training for cancer research students providing a coordinated program of skills, research and career training in addition to usual PhD activities. The program is designed to complement existing PhD activities and provides opportunities to develop professional skills that will help candidates to fulfil their career ambitions.

Funding Notes

All PhD students at Peter Mac must have a scholarship from The University of Melbourne or through another government, trust or philanthropic organisation. Before applying for a scholarship, you must have agreed on a project with an institute supervisor.

For further information about the university application process, see:

For further information regarding scholarships (both local and international), see:
Closing dates for applications for scholarships to commence in 2019: Round 1 -31 October 2018; Round 2 - 28 Nov 2018; Round 3 - 20 Feb 2019.

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