About the Project
DPhil projects will be tailored to complement one of the following research topics in the lab:
1. Genetic recombination in lymphocyte development, longevity and malignancy – In dissecting mutagenic DNA repair mechanisms that are vital for lymphocyte development and immune-diversification, the laboratory has also revealed mechanisms that trigger the onset of familial breast and ovarian cancers.
2. DNA double-strand break repair pathway choice in genome maintenance and cancer prevention - The laboratory has a long-standing interest in the context-specific regulation of accurate and mutagenic DNA double-strand break repair systems. We are particularly interested in the BRCA1 tumour suppressor pathway, its contribution to homologous recombination (HR), and suppression of toxic non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ).
3. Exploiting GI driving mechanisms in the treatment of cancer – Loss or deregulation of a genome maintenance activity in cancer often comes at a cost. The laboratory uses molecular genetics and screening approaches to identify genetic vulnerabilities intrinsic to GI-driven cancers, in the hope of improving the treatment of cancer
Interdisciplinary by design, DPhil projects will utilise a broad range of cutting-edge molecular and genetic technologies, and will foster interactions with multiple labs in the WIMM. Experimental approaches in the lab include advanced molecular biology, quantitative proteomics, quantitative and super-resolution imaging, CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing, structural biology and transgenic mouse models. The laboratory also utilises genome-wide screening technologies, and is developing methods to analyse the repair of endogenous DNA breaks on a genome-wide level. Training opportunities at the WIMM also exist to develop expertise in basic and advanced bioinformatics.
Students will be enrolled on the MRC WIMM DPhil Course, which takes place in the autumn of their first year. Running over several days, this course helps students to develop basic research and presentation skills, as well as introducing them to a wide-range of scientific techniques and principles, ensuring that students have the opportunity to build a broad-based understanding of differing research methodologies.
Generic skills training is offered through the Medical Sciences Division’s Skills Training Programme. This programme offers a comprehensive range of courses covering many important areas of researcher development: knowledge and intellectual abilities, personal effectiveness, research governance and organisation, and engagement, influence and impact. Students are actively encouraged to take advantage of the training opportunities available to them.
As well as the specific training detailed above, students will have access to a wide-range of seminars and training opportunities through the many research institutes and centres based in Oxford.
All MRC WIMM graduate students are encouraged to participate in the successful mentoring scheme of the Radcliffe Department of Medicine, which is the host department of the MRC WIMM. This mentoring scheme provides an additional possible channel for personal and professional development outside the regular supervisory framework. The RDM also holds an Athena SWAN Silver Award in recognition of our efforts to build a happy and rewarding environment where all staff and students are supported to achieve their full potential.
For October 2021 entry, the application deadline is 8th January 2021 at 12 noon midday, UK time.
Please visit our website for more information on how to apply.
Yeow, Z.-Y. et al. Nature, 2020 - https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2690-1
Nakamura, K. et al. Nature Cell Biology, 2019 - https://doi.org/10.1038/s41556-019-0282-9
Becker, J. R. et al. Nature Communications, 2018- https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-07855-x
Ghezraoui, H. et al. Nature, 2018 - https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0362-1
Cuella-Martin, R. et al. Molecular Cell, 2016 - https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2016.08.002
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