Now recruiting for September 2018 entry

Application Deadline: 19 November 2017

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

As part of our comprehensive training programme, fully funded by Cancer Research UK, we have funding for 2 PhD studentships to commence in September 2018.

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 projects:


Targeting cells with extra centrosomes using ROS

First Supervisor: Dr Susana Godinho

Second Supervisors: Professor Claude Chelala

Centre for Molecular Oncology

Interview Date: 14th December 2017 

Project Outline:

Centrosome amplification, a common feature of human tumours, promotes chromosome instability, invasion and is sufficient to drive tumourigenesis in mouse models. Our recent preliminary data uncovered a novel role for centrosome amplification in promoting protein secretion. Secretion of proteins in cells with extra centrosomes is driven by increased Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and promote invasion of neighbouring cells. These exciting new findings open many new questions that will be addressed in this PhD project:

Aim1. Mechanisms of ROS production in cancer cells with extra centrosomes. We will use siRNA and CRISPR-Cas9 approaches to identify the NADPH oxidase complex responsible to increase ROS and determine the mechanisms of its activation in cells with extra centrosomes.

Aim2. Identify ROS-mediated secreted proteins. We will use a proteomic approach to determine the ROS-mediated secreted proteins. Additionally, we will take a bioinformatics approach to determine the presence of these proteins and their expression in patient breast cancer samples.

Aim3. Impact of ROS deregulation in tumourigenesis. We will determine the sensitivity of breast cancer cells lines with extra centrosomes to ROS inducing agents in vitro and in vivo. We will also investigate the role of ROS in tumour growth and invasive behaviour (local invasion and metastasis).

KDM5 inhibition as a targeted epigenetic therapy for KMT2D mutant cancers

First Supervisor: Professor Jude Fitzgibbon

Second Supervisor: Dr Richard Grose

Centre for Haemato-Oncology

Interview Date: 19th December 2017

Project Outline:

The germinal centre lymphomas are characterised by mutations in epigenetic regulators. 90% of tumours harbour mutations in the histone methyltransferase KMT2D leading to the loss of the activation mark H3K4me3. We have recently demonstrated that inhibitors of the KMD5 demethylase family (KDM5i) reverse the effects of these mutations resulting in increased H3K4me3 levels and the reactivation of KMT2D target genes. These mutations are prevalent across a wide range of cancers including oesophageal and pancreas, suggesting that these inhibitors are likely to have more widespread application.

The PhD student will focus on characterising the response of lymphoma cells to KDM5i, determine the efficacy of KDM5i in other cancers, the combinations of drugs that best synergise with KDM5i and create models of epigenetic mutations using CRISPR editing to better understand how KMD5i targets cancer cells. This project will provide exceptional training for a talented graduate, offering an opportunity to undertake cutting edge translational research in a rapidly expanding field of research.


Useful information about these studentships and the application process:


Who should apply

Academic Entry Requirements

These studentships are 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 3 years:

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

Part Time students will receive pro-rata funding for 6 years.

How to apply

You should email your application to Your application will need to include:

  • Completed PhD application form
  • Your CV
  • Statement of purpose
  • 2 references*
  • Copy of your transcript(s), including a breakdown of marks
  • Copy of your passport
  • If applicable, proof of English proficiency

*You should contact your referees to request a reference. At least one of your references must be an academic one. References can either be returned to you or submitted directly to References should either be submitted on letterheaded paper with a stamp and signature or using our reference form.

Please ensure 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. Candidates will be interviewed by a panel consisting of the supervisory team and independent Institute staff.

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

Successful candidates will be contacted by e-mail the week beginning 4 December. If you have not heard from us by the end of this week, please assume your application has been unsuccessful on this occassion.


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