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PhD in Cancer Stem Cells (PhD Studentship)

Reference Number: R2309
Closing Date: Closed for applications
Duration: 3 years
Funding Amount: Full UK/EU fees, plus Doctoral Stipend
Level of Study: Postgraduate Research
Regions: EU (Non UK), UK
This funding opportunity is now closed for application

Project title: Characterization and small molecule targeting of cancer stem cells in myelodysplastic syndrome

Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a complex, heterogeneous set of haematological disorders (classified from low to high risk) where patients are deprived of proper blood cell production because of developing dysplastic blood cell precursors in the bone marrow. As all blood cells originate from bone marrow resident haematopoietic stem cells (HSC), it has been posited that MDS ensues from the dysregulation of normal HSC functionality and their progeny, progenitors (HPCs). Indeed, MDS is progressively becoming understood as a disease where dysregulated HSCs and HPCs act as the disease sustaining ‘target’ cell compartments. Of note, high risk MDS (up to 40% of all MDS cases) is classed as a pre-cancerous condition that transforms to overt malignancy in the form of secondary acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). In primary (or de novo) AML, cancer stem cells- the primary drivers of malignant growth and resistance to therapy- are derived clonally from mutated HSCs/HPCs. In high risk MDS, however, how dysregulation of HSC/HPC activity leads to cancer stem cell generation is poorly understood. With high risk MDS and resultant secondary AML being recalcitrant to therapy, there is an unmet need to improve therapy for these patients with a particular focus on restoring normal HSC functionality and forestalling AML development through the targeting of cancer stem cells and their precursors.

By deriving appropriate experimental models of MDS/AML and by working with patient samples, the student will thoroughly characterize cancer stem cells in high risk MDS and secondary AML using state of the art cellular and molecular biology techniques. The candidate will then go on to screen a chemical library for small molecules that may be used to therapeutically target these cancer stem cells.

Supervisors: Dr N Rodrigues and Prof A R Clarke

Start date: 1st October 2014

Number of Studentships: 1


This studentship consists of full UK/EU tuition fees, as well as a Doctoral Stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum (£13,863 p.a. for 2014/15, updated each year).

One studentship is available.


Residency: Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals and EU students without further restrictions.

Academic criteria: Applicants for a studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a 2.1 degree or higher in a relevant subject. Applications are particularly welcome from applicants with a good first degree or Masters qualification in Biological or Medical Sciences. Relevant research experience is extremely desirable.

How to Apply

Consideration is automatic on applying for PhD in Biosciences, with a start date of 1st October 2014 via Cardiff University's Online Application Service. In the research proposal section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project and copy the project description in the text box provided. In the funding section, please select "I will be applying for a scholarship / grant" and specify that you are applying for advertised funding from the Cardiff School of Biosciences.

The deadline for applications is 31st July 2014

Cardiff University reserves the right to close applications early should sufficient applications be received.

Further Information

For more information on the Cardiff School of Biosciences and other PhD opportunities within the department please visit the website.

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