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Integrative mapping and generation of precision biomarkers - Reference T3/17

Department of Health Sciences

About the Project

The pharmaceutical industry increasingly prioritises drug targets based on genetics evidence. However, an associated genetic marker does not always identify the right gene to be targeted by a drug. Often the mappings from marker to gene aren't precise, nor do they provide the level of confidence needed to immediately and successfully launch new drug programs. In order to increase variant-to-gene confidence and test causality we are acquiring new proteomic datasets which scan hundreds of proteins in thousands of individuals. Furthermore, epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) on peripheral blood and other accessible cells are now widespread. Evidence is emerging that methylation changes and sequence variation independently and equally contribute to the variance of peripheral protein levels. This project aims to combine data from genetic and epigenetic association studies with the latest proteomic data to improve the identification of drug targets from genetic studies. With a particular focus on eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and lupus, we aim to build statistical models to determine and quantify causal molecular pathways. Better modelling and use of the latest large-scale datasets will allow us to map drug targets more confidently and build better biomarkers to gauge disease activity and treatment response.

Entry requirements

• Candidates applying to the 4-year PhD should hold or expect to hold a UK first-class or upper second-class (2:1) undergraduate degree or a Master's degree in a relevant subject or overseas equivalent
• Candidates applying to the 1-year MSc + 4-year PhD should hold or expect to hold a first-class or upper second-class (2:1) undergraduate degree or overseas equivalent
• University of Leicester English language (URL: requirements apply
Candidates who do not meet these entry requirements, but feel they have additional research experience should describe this clearly in the applicant statement.
Applicants should note that this programme is not intended for clinically active, medically qualified candidates.


UK/EU and International* applicants may apply.
*International applicants not applying from a Low or Middle Income Country must be able to demonstrate that they can fund the difference between UK/EU and International tuition fees for the duration of the PhD.


For project enquiries please contact the relevant Theme lead or the project supervisor in the first instance.

Administration and general enquiries to Sarah Robinson at .

[[To Apply ]]
Please follow the application advice and submit your application using the online application form at

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