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Identification of Mechanisms of Resistance to HER2 targeted therapy

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  • Full or part time
    Prof R Kennedy
    Dr Nuala McCabe
    Mr McIntosh
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description


Amplification of HER2 is observed in approximately 20% of invasive breast carcinomas, and manifests as a poor prognosis group with an increased risk for disease progression and a decreased overall survival [Gajria and Chandarlapaty, Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2011]. The HER2 gene encodes a transmembrane tyrosine kinase receptor that belongs to the EGF receptor (EGFR) family. Overexpression of HER2 enables constitutive activation of growth factor signaling pathways and a transformed phenotype. Trastuzumab (herceptin), a humanized, recombinant monoclonal antibody has been shown to selectively exert anti-tumor effects. Despite the clinical benefit seen with trastuzumab administration, both de novo and acquired clinical resistance have been increasingly recognized. The aim of this study is to identify mechanism of resistance to trastuzumab treatment using novel cell lines generated from patient samples and in vivo modelling.


Candidates should have or expect to obtain a 2:1 or higher Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant biomedical or life sciences subject.

English Language

Candidates applying from countries where the first language is not English should produce evidence of their competence through a qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL score.

The minimum recommended score for the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science is:
• IELTS score of 6.0 with not less than 5.5 in each of the four component elements of listening, reading, speaking and writing taken within the last 2 years;
• TOEFL score of 80+ (internet basted test), taken within the last 2 years, with minimum component scores of; Listening 17, Reading 18, Speaking 20, Writing 17);
• A valid Certificate of Proficiency in English grade A or B;
• A valid Certificate of Advanced English grade A; or
• A first or upper second class honours degree from a university based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or other suitably quality assured location in a country deemed by the UK Border Agency to be majority English speaking.

For a list of English Language qualifications also accepted by the School and University please see the following link:

The English Language Unit (ELU) offers both pre-sessional and in-sessional courses in English for academic purposes and study skills. Courses vary in length and full information can be obtained from the ELU http://www.qub.ac.uk/tefl/

Funding Notes



Eligibility for fees/maintenance (£14,296 for 2016/17, 2017/18 TBC) depends on the applicants being either an ordinary UK or EU resident.

Non UK residents who hold EU residency may also apply but if successful may receive fees only.


Please visit the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, website for further details about the Centre:


When applying, please choose 'MEDICINE' as your subject area/School.

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