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The use of biomarkers Defensins 2 and 3 for screening of oral cancer in high-risk populations


Project Description

We are seeking applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in October 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter, in oral cancer. The studentship would be based in the Institute of Dentistry, Barts and The London School of Medicine, Queen Mary University of London. The project will be supervised by Professor Anwar R Tappuni and supported by excellent clinical and research staff.

Head and neck cancer, which comprises oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), oropharyngeal, and pharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma, is the sixth most common malignancy in the world today. Recent statistics from Cancer Research UK show that rates of oral cancer have sharply increased in the UK over the last 20 years. In particular, oral cancer is a major health problem in Tower Hamlets population that also presents one of the highest rates of tobacco use in the UK. Early identification of pre-cancer or cancer would improve outcomes and negate the need for unnecessary biopsies in patients whose lesions remain benign. This studentship offers the opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge research into validating novel biomarkers that identifies progressive lesions that transform to cancer, allowing early diagnosis and improving outcomes. The PhD candidate will benefit from training at state-of-the-art facilities at the research laboratories in the Blizard Institute. This PhD project offers a suitable candidate the opportunity to join a multidisciplinary group of dental clinicians and researchers, and basic scientists with international links and collaborations. The successful candidate will be part of a supportive and dynamic team of clinicians and researchers.

Funding Notes

The Trustees of The Medical College of Saint Bartholomew’s Hospital Trust (MCSBHT) have offered funding for three research studentships (two in medicine and one in dentistry), for clinically qualified candidates within the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry to commence in October 2020, leading to a PhD degree.

Funded studentships will be open to potential students with a clinical qualification and GMC / GDC registration at any career stage below consultant. They will be funded for three years at current, MRC rates. Studentships will include PhD fees (at home/EU levels) and up to £6000 pa for consumables. Further consumables / funding for travel may be available on application.

References

• Ghosh SK, Gerken TA, Schneider KM, Feng Z, McCormick TS, Weinberg A (2007) Quantification of human beta-defensin-2 and -3 in body fluids: application for studies of innate immunity. Clin Chem 53: 757-765. PMID:17317882.
• Ghosh SK, McCormick TS, Weinberg A (2019) Human Beta Defensins and Cancer: Contradictions and Common Ground, Front. Oncol., 03 May 2019

https://doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2019.00341
• Jiang W, Ghosh SK, Flyckt R, Kalinowska M, Starks D, Jurevic R, Weinberg A, Lederman MM, Rodriguez B (2012) Bacterial colonization and beta defensins in the female genital tract in HIV infection. Curr HIV Res 10: 504-512. PMID:22716110.
• Jin G, Kawsar HI, Hirsch SA, Zeng C, Jia X, Feng Z, Ghosh SK, Zheng QY, Zhou A, McIntyre TM, Weinberg A (2010) An antimicrobial peptide regulates tumor-associated macrophage trafficking via the chemokine receptor CCR2, a model for tumorigenesis. PLoS One 5: e10993. PMID:20544025.
• Jin G,Weinberg A. Human antimicrobial peptides and cancer. Semin Cell Dev Biol. (2018) 88:156–62. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2018.04.006
• Kawsar HI, Weinberg A, Hirsch SA, Venizelos A, Howell S, Jiang B, Jin G (2009) Overexpression of human beta-defensin-3 in oral dysplasia: potential role in macrophage trafficking. Oral Oncol 45: 696-702. PMID:19097930.
• Meisch JP, Nishimura M, Vogel RM, Sung HC, Bednarchik BA, Ghosh SK, Fu P, McCormick T, Weinberg A, Levine AD (2013) Human beta-defensin 3 peptide is increased and redistributed in Crohn's ileitis. Inflamm Bowel Dis 19: 942-953. PMID:23511030.
• Weinberg A, Jin G, Sieg S, McCormick TS. The yin and yang of human Beta-defensins in health and disease. Front Immunol. (2012) 3:294. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2012.00294

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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