Molecular mechanisms regulating autophagy in glioblastoma cells
This is one of several projects available on a CRUK funded PhD programme at the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre, which is part of the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM) at the University of Edinburgh.
Cells are continuously exposed to toxic insults from both external and internal sources. The inability of cells to deal with the effects of such insults can be potentially deleterious. One mechanism that helps cells protect themselves from the build-up of toxic material is known as autophagy, literary meaning “self-eating”. Autophagy helps cells dispose of harmful components such as damaged organelles, unfolded proteins and pathogens. During autophagy, vesicles known as autophagosomes form and engulf cytoplasmic material leading to their lysosomal degradation. The degradation products are recycled back in the cell providing energy and nutrients supply which is of particular importance to cells undergoing stress. Because of these properties, autophagy has been implicated in various pathological conditions including auto-immune response, neurodegeneration and cancer.
The lab is particularly interested in understanding the role of autophagy in glioblastoma (the most common and aggressive type of brain cancer) and its possible targeting during anti-cancer treatment. The lab utilises a number of key systems including animal modelling, patient-derived cells and CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing. Using gRNA screens and proximity labelling assays, the lab aims to understand factors that regulate autophagy induction and can be potentially used as therapeutic targets. A PhD project is available to investigate novel players that have been identified in the lab by understanding how they function in regulating autophagosome formation. The project will involve various cellular and molecular biology techniques including tissue culture, protein and DNA techniques (including western blotting and cloning), oncogenic growth assays, cell death/survival, confocal microscopy (live and fixed fluorescent imaging) and CRISPR/Cas-mediated gene editing.
For further information on how to apply for this project, please visit: https://www.ed.ac.uk/cancer-centre/study-with-us/cancer-research-uk-phd-programme