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Mechanisms of regulating gene expression via selective mRNA transport

Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology, University of Melbourne

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Dr V Wickramasinghe , Prof R. Pearson Applications accepted all year round

About the Project

A critical step in the gene expression pathway that is altered in cancer is nuclear export of mRNA. We have demonstrated that mRNA export is not constitutive, but highly selective and can regulate distinct biological processes through poorly understood mechanisms.

This project aims to dissect the molecular mechanisms of regulating gene expression via selective mRNA transport. This will establish selective mRNA export as a novel area of research in cancer biology.

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 in Melbourne 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.

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 2020: Round 1 -31 October 2019; Round 2 - 31 Jan 2020; Round 3 - 15 May 2020.
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