Quadruplex DNA as biomarker for cancer: studies towards a novel optical diagnostic assay
Funded by the CDT in Chemical Biology: Innovation in Life Sciences – 1+3 year PhD studentships
Supervisors: Professor Ramon Vilar | Dr Marina Kuimova | Dr Marco Di Antonio | Professor Bob Brown
Transcriptional mis-regulation is a hallmark of cancer and is indicative of the aggressiveness of the tumor and its likelihood to respond to therapies. DNA G-quadruplexes (G4s) are non-canonical DNA structures that have recently emerged as promising biomarker of active transcription since there is evidence that they are more prevalent in cancer compared to normal tissues. In this project we will synthesise a novel set of optical probes for Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy (FLIM) to assess G4 levels in biopsies from cancer tissues. These small-molecule probes will be used to create a 3D G4-map of cancer tissues using two-photon excited FLIM, followed by transcriptional characterization of the different section of the tissue and genome-wide mapping of chromatin markers. We hope that these studies will provide the first direct correlation between global transcription mis-regulation in cancers and the presence of G4s. The project will involve the synthesis of new optical probes (based on small molecules), the photophysical studies upon their interaction with various DNA topologies, cellular and tissue imaging using FLIM and transcriptional characterization of the different section of the tissue and genome-wide mapping of chromatin markers.
Applications are encouraged as soon as possible, since positions will be filled as soon as suitable candidates are found.
To see our other projects, our eligibility criteria, and to find out how to apply, please visit our studentships page: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/chemical-biology/cdt/studentships/entry-2019/
For more information about our CDT please visit our CDT homepage: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/chemical-biology/cdt/
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