Two 3-year PhD Studentships in The School of Medicine

Applications are invited for a PhD position in medical sciences to join The University of Nottingham. The funds for this fellowship are available for three years. Candidates are welcome before June 07, 2019.

School of Medicine, Division of Cancer and Stem Cells

Background:The School of Medicine is the largest school in the University, covering a diverse range of medical, surgical, and other healthcare disciplines. Our world-leading research ranges from basic and translational science through to clinical trials, health economics, epidemiology, and health services research. Our research covers 11 major themes and we are also home to 19 divisions and units. We have a vibrant postgraduate community following a range of research programmes across the medical sciences, applied psychology, and other healthcare professions. Our mission is to improve human health and quality of life locally, nationally and internationally through outstanding education, research and patient care.

Project description:We invite applications for two 3-year PhD positions, funded by the Nottinghamshire Leukaemia Appeal

Long term survival in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is poor. Chemotherapy is aimed at destroying the bulk of leukaemia cells, but a population of cells remain dormant and resistant to the conventional anti-proliferative drugs. Dormant cells are rare and difficult to isolate but we have developed several models to either mimic or identify such cells. Using our first model, a cell line mimicking dormancy, we identified genes (and their encoded proteins) that are over-expressed in dormant cells when compared to their proliferating counterparts. Gene expression connectivity mapping has identified FDA-approved drugs which have the potential to reverse the effects of dormancy. Our second model, using patient cells, provides a tool in which to study the chemosensitivity of primary dormant leukaemic versus proliferating leukaemic cells. The proposed project funded by the Nottinghamshire Leukaemia Appeal aims to use and expand these models to test prospective anti-dormancy agents and to further characterise, and attempt to eradicate, dormant leukaemia cells. Achieving these aims will improve survival outcomes for AML patients.

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a devastating, heterogeneous disease of haematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) with poor overall survival using current standard-of-care combination therapies.AML is desperately in need of new therapeutic approaches. Current drug development is overly reliant on murine models which are not ideal for high throughput screening or refining experimental combination therapies. Therefore, novel models are required to de-risk experimental therapies, preferably in human cells, prior to clinical application. Combining isogenic leukaemic lines, derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), with an engineered supportive microenvironment 'niche' will provide a robust platform for advanced clinically relevant drug development in AML. This Nottinghamshire Leukaemia Appeal funded project aims to generate these advanced models to identify better therapies for AML patients.

Further information and Application:Applicants should have a minimum of a 2.1 Bachelor's degree in Human Genetics, Biomedical Sciences, Biology or closely related field, a Master's degree in Oncology or Stem Cell related discipline (awarded or pending). Previous laboratory work with cancer or stem cells is essential and experience working with leukaemia cells is desirable. The successful applicants will receive a stipend based on current RCUK levels, with paid fees for Home/EU students. International students who already have firm arrangements in place for the payment of their fees are eligible to apply.

Candidates should apply by submitting a two-page CV with contact details for 2 referees, and a one-page (A4) cover letter. Applications should be emailed to

A Home student has unrestricted rights to enter and remain in the UK and has been resident in the UK for three years prior to the start of a course, but the purpose of residence cannot purely have been full-time education.

An EU student is an EU national, a family member of an EU national, in the UK as a self-sufficient person or as a student, or a family member of a UK national. They will have been resident in Europe and/or Switzerland for three years before the start of a course, but the purpose of residence cannot purely have been full-time education.


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