PhD Studentship in Characterization of The Mutational Progression in Gastrointestinal Adenocarcinomas

A fully-funded PhD fellowship is available at University of Cambridge. Eligible candidates should submit the applications before November 30, 2018.

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 that advances our understanding of the earliest steps in the emergence of cancer, and to use this knowledge for early diagnosis, risk stratification and clinical intervention, through the development of innovative enabling technologies. 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. We have a number of PhD projects on offer for entry in October 2019, with funding available through studentships from the Medical Research Council. Eligibility and Funding criteria apply and are stated below. The following project is available in the laboratory of Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald:

Characterization of the mutational progression in gastrointestinal adenocarcinomas – Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald

Oesophageal Adenocarcinoma (OAC) is a poor prognosis cancer characterized by a high mutation burden and many large scale chromosomal rearrangements (structural variants). It is not clear how mutations in regulatory regions and structural variants effect chromatin organization and genome integrity. Characterizing these changes can help us in understanding molecular events that causes transformation. We have recently identified non-coding driver mutations in OAC but a poor understanding of OAC genome structure has limited both their detection and interpretation. This PhD project is an opportunity to work in a highly translational, multidisciplinary team to analyse whole genome sequencing, RNA sequencing data combined with wet lab experiments using innovative Hi-C techniques in 2D and 3D cell lines (organoids) to capture changes in both normal and cancer cases and investigate their functional relevance. Close postdoctoral support is available for day to day supervision combined with opportunities to learn computational and wet lab biology skills. More information about the research undertaken in the Fitzgerald Lab can be found here:

We welcome applications from those holding or expecting to obtain at least an upper second-class degree (or equivalent) in a relevant scientific subject. These studentships are funded by the Medical Research Council and are open to UK and EU applicants only. Other international students are not eligible to apply. UK applicants will be eligible to receive full funding of University and College fees and a stipend of 18,000 p.a. EU applicants will be funded on a fees-only basis, unless they meet the MRC’s eligibility criteria (visit the MRC website for further details: Successful applicants will be registered with the University of Cambridge.

All applications will need to be made through the University Application Portal and will entail an application fee of 60. Please visit: for further information about the programme and to access the Applicant Portal. Please note that the course code for PhD applications to the MRC Cancer Unit is MDCU22. Whilst making your online application please make it clear which project area(s) and principal investigator(s) you are interested in working with. Your online application will need to include:

-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 above information must be provided under relevant sections on the application portal.

In the ‘Research Title’ textbox, if you are applying for one project only, insert the project title. If you wish to apply for more than one project, insert ‘Cancer research’.

If you are applying for consideration by more than one supervisor, in the Research Summary textbox, please insert the project title(s) being offered by the Supervisor(s) you wish to consider your application.

In the ‘Research Supervisor’ textbox, please insert the initials of the Supervisor(s) you wish to consider your application.

Please also describe your research experience in the appropriate textbox.

The closing date for applications is 30th November 2018, with interviews expected to take place in December.

Please contact with any other enquiries concerning studentships or eligibility criteria.


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