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Understanding the language of complex disease: How non-coding RNAs provide a means of cell-to-cell communication via a process of intercellular epigenetics

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  • Full or part time
    Dr V James
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Once thought to be little more than a way for cells to offload waste, exosomes are now recognised to be a deliberate way for a cell to secrete cargos of RNA, DNA and proteins to reshape tissue and act as signal carriers. These somewhat overlooked organelles may hold the key to understanding how diseased tissues communicate with the rest of the body. Using cancer as a model, our work is the first to look at how the RNA cargo of exosomes produced by prostate cancer exosomes can selectively reprogramme the cells of the bone to create a nice that is supportive of tumour growth (pre-metastatic niche) promoting the spread of the cancer outside of the prostate and into the bone.
This project will build upon this cutting-edge programme of research by exploring the role of the non-coding RNA molecules found within prostate cancer vesicles. Through the development of novel tools and approaches, the project will seek to determine if the non-coding RNA cargo of these vesicles is capable of mediating cell-to-cell epigenetic communication.

Supervisors: Dr Cristina Tufarelli (Leicester), Professor Nigel Mongan (UoN), Dr Cinzia Allegrucci (UoN) and Dr Jenny Persson, UMEA University

Funding Notes

MRC IMPACT DTP studentship which offers a stipend and fee waiver for 3.5 years, plus travel and laptop allowance for UK applicants.
Application details at IMPACT DTP website: https://more.bham.ac.uk/mrc-impact/phd-opportunities/
Fully funded studentships are available for UK applicants. EU applicants who are able to confirm that they have been resident in the UK for at least three years before October 2019 may also be eligible for a full award. EU students who are not able to prove that they meet the residency criteria may apply for a fees only award.

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