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VC International Scholarship in Cancer & Genetics - The influence of oncogenes on the determination and the significance of mutational signatures in acute leukemia

Project Description

In cancer genomic sequencing data enable deconstruction of the progressive endogenous age- and environmentally-driven mutational processes involving DNA damage and repair pathways (DDRs). It is known that certain elements of the DDR are associated with characteristic mutational signatures (MS). MS are based on the frequency, location and pattern of non-synonymous nucleotide substitutions within the tumor genome creating a progressive mutational imprint mirroring a historical record of the mechanisms that contributed to the development of a patient’s disease over a life-time. We recently have shown that preleukemia and different subgroups of acute leukemias are characterized by different MS. Our goal is to define clinical significance of MS in relationship to the underlying molecular mechanism. This will provide evidence of how these molecular processes mechanistically impinge on leukemogenesis and clinical outcome. Here we propose to determine the differential effects of subgroup defining leukemic oncogenes, such as PML-RARα, DEK-CAN, E2A-PBX1, ETV6-RUNX1, all aberrant transcription factors able to induce acute leukemia. We hypothesize that these oncogenes influence DNA damage and repair pathways (DDR) and thereby the pattern of specific MS unveiling still unknown leukemogenic mechanisms. This will increase the impact of MS on the understanding of leukemia and leukemogenic mechanisms.

Funding Notes

Our VC’s International Scholarships for Research Excellence offers applicants the opportunity to join our internationally recognised research team, with expert research leaders for 3 years full time. The number of projects being advertised exceeds the number of Scholarships available, therefore funding is competitive and not guaranteed.

• A full waiver of overseas PhD tuition fees
• An annual stipend matching UKRI level (£15,285 for 2020/21)
• Research consumables, training
• Students may earn additional income supporting teaching



To be eligible for funding, applicants must be nationals of (or permanently domiciled in) from the world’s Least Developed and Other Low-Income Countries based on the DAC list of ODA Recipients 2020.


Applicants should possess a minimum of an upper second class Honours degree, master's degree, or equivalent in a relevant subject.
Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. 6.5 IELTS)


This studentship has a start date of October 2020. In order to be considered you must submit a formal application via Cardiff University’s online application service. (To access the system click 'Apply Online' at the bottom of this advert)
There is a box at the top right of the page labelled ‘Apply’, please ensure you select the correct ‘Qualification’ (Doctor of Philosophy), the correct ‘Mode of Study’ (Full Time) and the correct ‘Start Date’ (October 2020). This will take you to the application portal.

In order to be considered candidates must submit the following information:
• CV
• Supporting Statement
• Qualification certificates
• Proof of English language (if applicable)
• In the research proposal section, please insert the title of the project you are applying to.
• when asked “Are you self-funding your research?”, select “No, I am not self-funding my research”
• when asked “Please provide the name of the funding you are applying for”, insert “V-C’s International Scholarship for Research Excellence”.

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