Cancer Research UK 4 year PhD studentship


Now recruiting for September 2019 entry

Application deadline: 25 May 2019

As part of an exciting and ambitious Cancer Research UK Accelerator Programme we have funding for the below four-year PhD studentship to commence in September 2019.

Our Institute has an international reputation for cancer research, with world renowned experts in the field.

Our training programme aims to develop a cohort of scientists equipped both intellectually and technically to conduct the highest quality research on cancer.

Our research degrees are supplemented by a comprehensive support programme, providing training in a wide range of biomedical laboratory methods and other vital transferable skills.

We are now inviting applications for the following project:


Development and implementation of computational systems biology approaches for the identification of novel therapeutic targets in follicular lymphoma

First Supervisor: Dr Jun Wang

Second Supervisor: Professor Trevor Graham

Centre for Molecular Oncology

Project Outline:

Although huge progress has been made in the management of follicular lymphoma (FL), current treatment regimes that target FL at their fully developed stages are often complex and ineffective. FL has a well-defined precursor state, termed common progenitor cells (CPC), and disease progression is usually due to the clonal expansion of a precursor cell (sub)population. Thus, targeting FL in their CPC and minimal residual disease (MRD) states provides the best opportunity to prevent disease progression, offering novel targets to eradicate the disease.

This studentship is part of a large international research programme funded by Cancer Research UK Accelerator Award to study the pre-malignant and MRD states of blood cancers. We will apply a range of state-of-the-art technologies such as single cell RNA-seq, mass cytometry (CyTOF) and ATAC-seq to fully characterise CPC and MRD populations. In this PhD project, the successful candidate will develop analytical pipelines and algorithms to analyse high-throughput single-cell data sets generated from this programme. Omics data including genomic, transcriptional and epigenomic, as well as other biological and clinical data will be integrated using bioinformatic/biostatistic tools. In particular we will adopt machine learning methods, such as Bayesian networks, decision trees and SVM, to integrate data from different and heterogeneous sources to derive a new generation of biomarkers for early detection, risk stratification and novel targets to treat CPC. We will also construct comprehensive gene regulatory networks using a systems-level approach to highlight key and novel components associated with clinical outcome and tumour subtypes.

As this is a highly multidisciplinary project, the successful candidate will be exposed and trained in a wide range of molecular techniques and informatics skills, including single-cell profiling, machine learning and next generation flow. Furthermore, the student will work closely with scientists and clinicians on parallel molecular, computational and specialised mouse modelling studies as part of this ambitious programme and benefit from the rich collaborative nature of the programme across the participating institutions in the UK, Spain and Italy.

Applicants should have an interest in cancer genomics, evolution, bioinformatics and computational biology with a degree in an associated biological, mathematical or physics discipline.


Useful information about this studentship and the application process:


Who should apply

Academic Entry Requirements

This studentship is open to graduates with either:

  • a 2:1 or 1st degree in a related subject; or,
  • a 2:2 in a related subject with a subsequent MSc awarded with Merit or Distinction

If your degree has not yet been awarded but you are expected to meet the above entry requirements you are welcome to apply.

For more information on international equivalencies please see here.

English Language Requirements

Applicants for whom English is not a first language will also require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (with 6.0 in the written component), or equivalent, unless your undergraduate degree was studied in, and awarded by, an English speaking country. For more information on acceptable English language qualifications please see here.

Please note that funding for these fellowships is only provided at the home/EU rate.


These studentships include the following funding for 4 years:

  • A tax free annual stipend of £21,000
  • Tuition Fees at the Home/EU rate
  • Project consumables

How to apply

You will need to complete our online application form. You will be required to include the following as part of your application:

  • Your CV
  • Statement of purpose
  • Deatils of 2 referees. At least one of your references must be an academic one.
  • Copy of your transcript(s), including a breakdown of marks
  • If applicable, proof of English proficiency

When completing the application form, please ensure that:

  • In the Research Proposal section you indicate the name of the supervisor and title of the project that you are applying for. There is no requirement to upload a Research Proposal as you will be applying for a specific project
  • Within the Funding section you select I am a QMUL PG Research Studentship applicant and then type CRUK Accelerator studentship in the box below
  • You provide all supporting documents, as we are unable to consider incomplete applications.

Who should I contact if I have a question?

If you have a question about a specific project please contact the supervisor directly. For general enquiries about the PhD studentship or application process please contact

What happens after I submit my application?

Successfully shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview at Barts Cancer Institute

We are in the process of securing a date for the interviews and will publish the date here once it has been confirmed.


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