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Target Autophagy and Aberrant Mitochondrial Folate Metabolism in Leukaemic Stem Cells

College of Medicine, Veterinary and Life Sciences

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Dr V Helgason , Dr A Vazquez No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Prof Vignir Helgason
Dr Alexei Vazquez

Project summary:
Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) develops following a specific mutation in a single blood stem cell. Therefore, these cells serve as crucial target for therapeutic intervention. We have shown that patient-derived CML stem cells are not eradicated with currently available drugs. Therefore, drug combination therapy is required to cure CML patients. Our previous work has illustrated that autophagy (“self-eating”), a recycling process that maintains cell integrity, is an attractive target for CML stem cell eradication. We have also shown that CML stem cells rely on mitochondria metabolism for survival. This is an area ofgreat importance in CML, and other stem cell driven cancer types where inhibition of autophagy/metabolism might also improve therapy. The overall aim of this project is to further understand how leukaemic stem cells use autophagy/mitochondrial metabolism to escape drug treatment and to test a newly developed pre-clinical inhibitors.

This MRC programme is joint between the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. You will be registered at the host institution of the primary supervisor detailed in your project selection.

All applications should be made via the University of Edinburgh, irrespective of project location via the link below.

Please note, you must apply to one of the projects and you must contact the primary supervisor prior to making your application. Additional information on the application process is available from the link above.

For more information about Precision Medicine and what is required when submitting an application, please visit:

Funding Notes

Start: September 2021

Qualifications criteria: Applicants applying for an MRC DTP in Precision Medicine studentship must have obtained, or will soon obtain, a first or upper-second class UK honours degree or equivalent non-UK qualification, in an appropriate science/technology area. The MRC DTP in Precision Medicine grant provides tuition fees and stipend of at least £15,285 (UKRI rate 2020/21).

Full eligibility details are available:

Enquiries regarding programme: [Email Address Removed]
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