Anglia Ruskin University ARU Featured PhD Programmes
Anglia Ruskin University ARU Featured PhD Programmes

PhD Studentship - Unravelling the interaction between somatic genetics and treatment response in leukaemia using machine learning

Translational and Clinical Research Institute

Prof Anthony Moorman Saturday, May 01, 2021 Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Number of awards


Start date and duration

1 October 2021 (or later if needed). Funding covers a three-year PhD.


Are you interested in cancer, statistics and computing? If so, you could help improve the treatment of children with leukaemia.

Somatic genetic abnormalities in the leukaemic blasts of patients with acute leukaemia are one of the hallmarks of the disease and are increasingly used in patient management as prognostic biomarkers. Although specific abnormalities are well-known to be associated with a good or poor response to chemotherapy little is known about the interaction between somatic genetics and individual elements of the treatment pathway. Protocol modifications and improved risk stratification over the past 50 years have increased survival of childhood leukaemia from ~50% to >90%. We hypothesis that patients with genetic abnormalities will respond optimally to specific but different treatment combinations; and that these combinations can be identified by analysing serial clinical trial datasets using artificial intelligence methodologies. Using well-annotated and detailed clinical trial datasets from >8,000 patients, the successful applicant will explore in-depth the interaction between a variety of class-defining somatic genetic abnormalities and drug doses, drug combinations and treatment blocks. The objective of the study will be to define optimal treatment pathways for a selection of genetic subtypes; thereby recasting prognostic biomarkers into robust predictive biomarkers. The impact of research will be to enable future patients to be treated with a more precise treatment schedules that maximise cure rates, minimise toxicity and improving long-term quality of life.  

For further information about this project please contact Anthony Moorman  or Amir Enshaei .


Alice Stephenson bequest fund.

Name of supervisor(s)

Professor Anthony Moorman and Dr Amir Enshaei, Leukaemia Research Cytogenetics Group, Translational and Clinical Research Institute Newcastle University.

Eligibility Criteria

You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honour’s degree or international equivalent, in an appropriate subject, including: biomedical sciences, computing, statistics. The candidate must have or be willing to learn computing coding. A further qualification such as an MRes is advantageous.

The award is available to Home applicants only.

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’.

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 CR071 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 CR071 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.


For further details, please contact:

Professor Anthony V Moorman, PhD

Co-Director, Leukaemia Research Cytogenetics Group,

Translational and Clinical Research Institute

Faculty of Medical Sciences

Newcastle University

Level 6, Herschel Building

Brewery Lane

Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU.

Funding Notes

100% of Home tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £15,609/annum (full award).

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