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Investigating the significance of blood cancer precursors with a particular focus on multiple myeloma

Project Description

Worldwide, multiple myeloma (MM) is the second most common blood cancer with approximately 160,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Despite treatment advances 10-year net survival remains poor resulting in MM being one of the most fatal cancers within the UK. MM has two recognised precursor stages called MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of undertermined significance) and SMM (smouldering multiple myeloma). These premalignant conditions are associated with varying risks of progressing to MM and this risk has been shown to remain elevated up to 25 years post diagnosis. Identifying individuals with higher risk of progression is therefore crucial to improving patient outcomes as well as reducing burden on healthcare systems worldwide.

The student will join an experienced team of researchers in the Cancer Epidemiology Research Group at the Centre for Public Health to investigate the significance of these precancerous conditions. During the studentship, the student will have access to data from the MGUS register currently being developed by the study team within the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry. The student will use this data to investigate important patient outcomes and will assist in developing a risk prediction model of MGUS progression to cancer. There will also be opportunity to gain skills in conducting systematic reviews, analysing large population-based datasets and mixed methodology projects.

This project is ideally suited to a highly ambitious, motivated student with a background in a health-related subject (e.g. public health, epidemiology, pharmacy, nursing, biomedical sciences) or a quantitative subject (e.g. maths, statistics).


Candidates should have or expect to obtain a 2:1 or higher Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant public health, epidemiology, medical, biomedical science or statistics subject.

English Language

Candidates applying from countries where the first language is not English should produce evidence of their competence through a qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL score.

The minimum recommended score for the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science is:
• IELTS score of 6.0 with not less than 5.5 in each of the four component elements of listening, reading, speaking and writing taken within the last 2 years;
• TOEFL score of 80+ (internet basted test), taken within the last 2 years, with minimum component scores of; Listening 17, Reading 18, Speaking 20, Writing 17);
• A valid Certificate of Proficiency in English grade A or B;
• A valid Certificate of Advanced English grade A; or
• A first or upper second class honours degree from a university based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or other suitably quality assured location in a country deemed by the UK Border Agency to be majority English speaking.

For a list of English Language qualifications also accepted by the School and University please see the following link:

The English Language Unit (ELU) offers both pre-sessional and in-sessional courses in English for academic purposes and study skills. Courses vary in length and full information can be obtained from the ELU

Funding Notes

*FUNDING CONFIRMED – Department for the Economy (DfE)*

Eligibility for both fees (£4260 for 2018/19) and maintenance (£14,777 for 2018/19) depends on the applicants being either an ordinary UK resident or those EU residents who have lived permanently in the UK for the 3 years immediately preceding the start of the studentship.

Non UK residents who hold EU residency may also apply but if successful may receive fees only.

For further details re eligibility criteria (including academic, citizenship and residency criteria) please click on the following link: View Website


Please visit the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Centre for Public Health, website for further details about the Centre:

When applying, please choose 'MEDICINE' as your subject area/School.

Related Subjects

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