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PhD studentship in molecular survivorship: Understanding and ameliorating late-effects in childhood cancer survivors

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  • Full or part time
    Dr D Hicks
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Number of awards

Start date and duration
3 year PhD starting October 2020

Incremental improvements in the treatment of children and adolescents with cancer have led to 5-year survival rates reaching nearly 85%, however, 30-40% of these childhood cancer survivors (CCS) suffer from ≥1 severe chronic medical problem(s), impacting significantly on quality of life (QoL). The huge unmet need of these childhood cancer survivors (~500,000 across Europe) is becoming increasingly recognised, particularly in relation to the role of genetic susceptibility in treatment-related adverse outcomes.

This PhD studentship aims to reduce the disease- and therapy-associated late-effects burden in CCS, through understanding their nature, clinico-molecular aetiology, and underlying biological mechanisms.
Specifically, the student will:

Develop and interrogate childhood cancer datasets to understand the key clinico-molecular correlates of late-effects.
Apply cutting-edge DNA sequencing and molecular biology approaches to explore the potential for biological factors such as genetic predisposition (and especially interaction with therapeutic exposures) to exacerbate the toxic effect of treatment on normal tissues and organ systems.
Utilise in vivo treatment and disease mouse models to better understand the functional/mechanistic aetiology of late-effects, and for the appraisal of pharmacogenomic or other intervention strategies to ameliorate their impact.
This studentship represents a unique, cross-disciplinary, training opportunity in molecular biology/genetics, molecular pathology, functional biology, in vivo animal modelling and bioinformatic / statistical analysis methodologies.

The supervisory team are part of a vibrant multi-disciplinary strand of the Newcastle University Centre for Cancer (, encompassing leaders in childhood cancer molecular pathology/biology, survivorship research and clinical translation. We have strong collaborative involvement in several wider international initiatives related to toxicity and survivorship research. Our Centre is the focus of research excellence in translational cancer research in Newcastle- and home to over 100 principal investigators - which has led in the development of clinical advances, including new drugs, diagnostics and devices, from the laboratory into the clinic. We are housed across more than 10 specialist clinical and research facilities, with state-of-the-art equipment.

Newcastle University

Name of supervisor(s)
Dr D Hicks (, Newcastle University Centre for Cancer, Translational Clinical Medicine Research Institute.

Dr S Miwa (, Newcastle University, Biosciences Institute.

Prof R Skinner, Newcastle University Centre for Cancer, Translational Clinical Medicine Research Institute.

Eligibility Criteria
Candidates must have a BSc in an appropriate biological sciences discipline at first or 2:1 level, or a Masters degree in a relevant subject (e.g. cancer research).

How to apply
You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application form ( Only mandatory fields need to be completed. However, you will need to include the following information:

insert the programme code 8300F in the programme of study section
select ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences – Cancer Research as the programme of study
insert the studentship code TC007 in the studentship/partnership reference field
attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the studentship reference code TC007 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications

Dr D Hicks (
Newcastle University Centre for Cancer(
Translational and Clinical Research Institute
E-mail: [Email Address Removed]
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 2236

Funding Notes

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £15,009 (full award). Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

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