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Graduate Studies

 

We have PhD opportunities for entry in October 2017 available in the following areas:

 

MRC DTA PhD Studentship

Determination of clonal ordering and competition in progression from Barrett's to oesophageal adenocarcinoma Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald

The Medical Research Council Cancer Unit at the University of Cambridge is a leading centre for cancer research in the UK.  Our aim is to undertake research into cancer biology that can be translated into clinical practice to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancers.  The Unit is based within the Hutchison/MRC Research Centre on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, and possesses excellent research facilities, strong collaborations with clinicians and colleagues in other disciplines, and a vibrant and supportive working environment.

Genetic events driving the progression from pre-malignant to malignant disease are still poorly understood.  Barrett's carcinogenesis is an ideal disease to study cancer evolution since patients are monitored longitudinally and oesophageal samples are readily collected at endoscopy.  Furthermore through the whole genome sequencing efforts of the Fitzgerald laboratory, as part of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC), we have a growing understanding of the mutations present in different disease stages.  In collaboration with the Sanger, new primary model systems derived from the same patients for which we have sequencing are becoming available.  In this PhD project the candidate will join a large, dynamic multidisciplinary research group comprising computational biologists, postdocs and clinician scientists working on different aspects of the ICGC data with complementary expertise.  This project will examine: a) the significance of the order in which mutations are acquired, and b) the determinants and consequences of clonal competition in driving indolent premalignant disease to become invasive.  To do this the candidate will analyse patient derived genomic data from the ICGC as well as performing experiments using in vitro 2D and 3D model systems including organoids.  They will learn genome editing (CRISPR, Tet-on/off) to develop a range of genetically modified models which can then be assessed for effects on cell behaviour using quantitative assays including confocal microscopy, live-cell imaging and cell based functional assays (proliferation, apoptosis, invasion etc.).  This PhD is an ideal opportunity to develop research skills in translational cancer medicine.

More information about the research undertaken in the Fitzgerald Lab can be found here- www.mrc-cu.cam.ac.uk/research/rebecca-fitzgerald

Successful applicants will be registered with the University of Cambridge.

In addition to our outstanding research environment we offer a competitive stipend of £18,000 pa. Further information regarding eligibility criteria can be found at www.mrc.ac.uk/skills-careers/studentships/studentship-guidance/student-eligibility-requirements/

We welcome applications from those holding, or expecting to obtain, at least an upper second class degree (or equivalent) in a relevant scientific subject.    

Please direct applications in the following format to studentships@mrc-cu.cam.ac.uk specifying which project area and principal investigator you are interested in working with.

  • A CV, including full details of all University course grades to date.
  • Contact details for two academic or professional referees.
  • A personal statement outlining your interest      in a specific project area, what you hope to achieve from a PhD, and your      research experience to date.

The closing date for applications is 30 November 2016, with interviews expected to take place on 12 December 2016.

Please contact studentships@mrc-cu.cam.ac.uk with any other enquiries concerning studentships or eligibility criteria.

 


MRC DTA PhD Studentship

Dissecting the role of fumarate as an oncometabolite – Dr. Christian Frezza

The Medical Research Council Cancer Unit at the University of Cambridge is a leading centre for cancer research in the UK.  Our aim is to undertake research into cancer biology that can be translated into clinical practice to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancers.  The Unit is based within the Hutchison/MRC Research Centre on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, and possesses excellent research facilities, strong collaborations with clinicians and colleagues in other disciplines, and a vibrant and supportive working environment.

Fumarate Hydratase is a mitochondrial enzyme found mutated in hereditary and sporadic forms of cancer.  How the loss of this mitochondrial enzyme leads to tumorigenesis is still an open question.  It has been proposed that fumarate, a metabolite accumulated in FH-deficient cells, might contribute to tumorigenesis of these types of cancer.  We have recently discovered that fumarate can act as an epigenetic modifier, affecting histone and DNA methylation.  However, mechanisms that lead the translocation of fumarate from the mitochondria to the nucleus are still unknown.  This PhD project aims at designing novel tools to investigate the intracellular distribution of fumarate using a combination of state-of-the-art metabolomics and microscopy.  In particular, we want to build a novel fumarate sensor to study intracellular fumarate pools in real time.  The ideal candidate should have experience in cancer biology and cell metabolism.  Expertise in molecular biology and microscopy are distinct advantages.

More information about the research undertaken in the Frezza lab can be found here- www.mrc-cu.cam.ac.uk/research/Christian-frezza-folder

Successful applicants will be registered with the University of Cambridge.

In addition to our outstanding research environment we offer a competitive stipend of £18,000 pa. Further information regarding eligibility criteria can be found at www.mrc.ac.uk/skills-careers/studentships/studentship-guidance/student-eligibility-requirements/

We welcome applications from those holding, or expecting to obtain, at least an upper second class degree (or equivalent) in a relevant scientific subject.    

Please direct applications in the following format to studentships@mrc-cu.cam.ac.uk specifying which project area and principal investigator you are interested in working with.

  • A CV, including full details of all University course grades to date.
  • Contact details for two academic or professional referees.
  • A personal statement outlining your interest in a specific project area, what you hope to achieve from a PhD, and your      research experience to date.

The closing date for applications is 30 November 2016, with interviews expected to take place on 12 December 2016.

Please contact studentships@mrc-cu.cam.ac.uk with any other enquiries concerning studentships or eligibility criteria.

 


 MRC DTA PhD Studentship

Defining mechanisms of immune dysfunction in the tumour microenvironment – Dr. Jacqueline Shields

The Medical Research Council Cancer Unit at the University of Cambridge is a leading centre for cancer research in the UK.  Our aim is to undertake research into cancer biology that can be translated into clinical practice to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancers.  The Unit is based within the Hutchison/MRC Research Centre on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, and possesses excellent research facilities, strong collaborations with clinicians and colleagues in other disciplines, and a vibrant and supportive working environment.

Although tumours frequently contain immune infiltrates, our immune system is often unable to mount an effective anti-tumour response.  Furthermore, rather than clearing the lesion, immune populations frequently promote disease progression and metastasis. Despite these observations, the mechanisms employed by a growing tumour to avoid immune destruction remain unclear.  However, recent evidence indicates that non-cancerous support cells within tumours, referred to as the stroma, may play a role.  The Shields group aims to determine how and when the stroma is able to orchestrate immune dysfunction during tumour evolution, both in the local microenvironment and downstream lymph nodes.  This project will take an innovative approach that integrates bioengineering principles, novel in vitro systems, state-of-the-art imaging techniques and in vivo tumour models.  Our long-term goal is to translate this knowledge into targeted therapeutic platforms capable of restoring the anti-tumour response.

More information about the research undertaken in the Shields lab can be found here- www.mrc-cu.cam.ac.uk/research/Jacqui-Shields-folder

Successful applicants will be registered with the University of Cambridge.

In addition to our outstanding research environment we offer a competitive stipend of £18,000 pa. Further information regarding eligibility criteria can be found at www.mrc.ac.uk/skills-careers/studentships/studentship-guidance/student-eligibility-requirements/

We welcome applications from those holding, or expecting to obtain, at least an upper second class degree (or equivalent) in a relevant scientific subject.    

Please direct applications in the following format to studentships@mrc-cu.cam.ac.uk specifying which project area and principal investigator you are interested in working with.

  • A CV, including full details of all University course grades to date.
  • Contact details for two academic or professional referees.
  • A personal statement outlining your interest in a specific project area, what you hope to achieve from a PhD, and your      research experience to date.

The closing date for applications is 30 November 2016, with interviews expected to take place on 12 December 2016.

Please contact studentships@mrc-cu.cam.ac.uk with any other enquiries concerning studentships or eligibility criteria.

 


 MRC DTA PhD Studentship

Molecular basis of cancer metastasis Dr. Sakari Vanharanta

The Medical Research Council Cancer Unit at the University of Cambridge is a leading centre for cancer research in the UK.  Our aim is to undertake research into cancer biology that can be translated into clinical practice to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancers.  The Unit is based within the Hutchison/MRC Research Centre on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, and possesses excellent research facilities, strong collaborations with clinicians and colleagues in other disciplines, and a vibrant and supportive working environment.

The majority of cancer-related deaths result from the metastatic spread of cancer to secondary organs.  Even though a multitude of metastasis driver genes have been identified, in most cases metastatic cancer remains incurable.  Thus, there is a critical need for a better understanding of genetic cancer cell dependencies.  Our multi-disciplinary approach combines functional genetics, experimental metastasis models, clinical association analysis, high-throughput genomics and bioinformatics in order to identify genetic regulators of metastatic cell states.  The long-term goal is to translate this knowledge into novel prognostic and treatment modalities for metastatic cancer. PhD projects are available on several specific aspects of our general goal.

More information about the research undertaken in the Vanharanta lab can be found here: www.mrc-cu.cam.ac.uk/research/sakari-vanharanta-folder

Successful applicants will be registered with the University of Cambridge.

In addition to our outstanding research environment we offer a competitive stipend of £18,000 pa. Further information regarding eligibility criteria can be found at www.mrc.ac.uk/skills-careers/studentships/studentship-guidance/student-eligibility-requirements/

We welcome applications from those holding, or expecting to obtain, at least an upper second class degree (or equivalent) in a relevant scientific subject.    

Please direct applications in the following format to studentships@mrc-cu.cam.ac.uk specifying which project area and principal investigator you are interested in working with.

  • A CV, including full details of all University course grades to date.
  • Contact details for two academic or professional referees.
  • A personal statement outlining your interest in a specific project area, what you hope to achieve from a PhD, and your      research experience to date.

The closing date for applications is 30 November 2016, with interviews expected to take place on 12 December 2016.

Please contact studentships@mrc-cu.cam.ac.uk with any other enquiries concerning studentships or eligibility criteria.

 


 

If you are considering applying directly for postgraduate training at the Unit  (not in response to an advertised post or studentship), we would suggest that you first contact either the group leader that you are interested in working with  (listed under the Research tab of this site) or contact the studentships team (studentships@mrc-cu.cam.ac.uk).  These steps should be taken prior to submitting a GRADSAF application.