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Targeting IKK-epsilon to develop novel therapeutics for the treatment of breast cancer.

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  • Full or part time
    Dr K Bianchi
    Dr T Sharp
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

MRC PhD Studentship
Centre for Molecular Oncology
Barts Cancer Institute
Barts and the London School of Medicine & Dentistry
Queen Mary University of London

Academic supervisors: Dr Katiuscia Bianchi and Dr Tyson Sharp

Project Title: Targeting IKK-epsilon to develop novel therapeutics for the treatment of breast cancer.

Applications are invited from graduates with a BSc (First or Upper Second) or MSc (Distinction or Merit). Previous research experience would be an advantage. This 3 year studentship will commence in October/November 2014 and the applicant will be based in the School's Charterhouse Square Campus. This is an exciting opportunity for a graduate from disciplines related to Molecular Biology and Oncology

Every year breast cancer kills around 10.000 women in the UK only, underlying the urgency to develop novel therapies for the treatment of the disease. The focus of the project is to help the development of therapeutic strategies to treat IKK- epsilon driven tumours, currently 30% of breast cancers. IKK-epsilon is a kinase extensively characterised because of its multiple functions: it is required in the innate immune system response, and it activates the survival factor NFkappaB. Most importantly, IKK-epsilon has been implicated in the regulation of energy balance in obese mice. In addition to this plethora of physiological functions, IKK-epsilon has been shown to be a breast and ovarian cancer oncogene.

Rationale: Robust evidence in the literature, as mentioned above, indicates that IKK-epsilon regulates metabolism, and preliminary data from my group indicates that the kinase specifically has a role in the regulation of amino acid biosynthesis. Upon IKK-epsilon activation, glycolitic metabolic substrates are diverted from being oxidised in the mitochondria to nutrient biosynthesis (a process know as aerobic glycolysis or Warburg effect). Induction of Warburg effect appears to be essential for the oncogenic function of IKK-epsilon. However, little is known about the upstream regulators of this pathway and is thus the overarching aim of this project. In particular, the present PhD project aims to investigate the mechanisms responsible for triggering IKK-epsilon, using altered metabolism as readout for
its activation as an oncogene. Understanding how IKK-epsilon is activated will reveal novel signalling pathways and regulators all of which may represent novel targets for drug development to increase the efficiency of IKK-epsilon inhibition to induce cancer cell death.

Informal Enquiries can be made to: Dr Katiuscia Bianchi e-mail: [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

This Studentship is funded by the MRC and comes with a tax-free stipend of approximately £15,863 per annum. It is open to UK Nationals, EEA/Swiss migrant workers and non-UK nationals with indefinite leave to remain in the UK who will have three years ordinary residence in the UK prior to the start of the studentship. University tuition fees (at UK/EU levels) will be met by the funding body.
Please refer to website for full eligibility details:


To apply, please send a copy of your CV and a covering letter to the supervisor

Closing date: 16th August 2014

Interviews will be held on 23 September 2014.

How good is research at Queen Mary University of London in Clinical Medicine?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 144.11

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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