Funded PhD: Breaking the obesity-cancer link – a theranostic role for FKBPL in obesity-induced oesophageal adenocarcinoma

The aim of this project is to define the link between FKBPL, obesity and cancer so that we can harness its activity to prevent or treat oesophageal cancer.

Project description

After smoking, obesity is the most important avoidable cause of cancer, with Ireland having the worst projected obesity problem in Europe.

Oesophageal cancer, one of the most deadly, is most strongly linked to obesity. If we can understand why fat cells feed tumour growth, we could help cut the increase in cancer incidence. We propose that a lack of sufficient FKBPL, a protein associated with prevention of both cancer and obesity, might contribute to this process. We will define the link between FKBPL, obesity and cancer so that we can harness its activity to prevent or treat oesophageal cancer.

This PhD candidate will be involved in an innovative collaborative project between RCSI and TCD which will:

  • Assess the mechanistic link between FKBPL deficiency across disease progression in obesity-induced oesophageal cancer vitro/in vivo and within clinical cohorts and correlate with tumour progression, treatment response and survival outcomes
  • Evaluate the impact of reversing disease progression ± obesity with FKBPL-based therapeutics using human ex vivo and in vivo  models
  • Understand how FKBPL controls immunometabolic processes across each endpoint.

The proposed studies are thus not only of basic scientific interest, but also of direct clinical significance, in terms of oesophageal cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention in a disease where survival rates are dismal.

Tenure: Four years

Expected start date: December 2021


Minimum requirements:

  • Upper second class (2.1) honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject

Desirable candidate specifications include:

  • Some evidence of experience in cell and molecular biology  based techniques

Application process

To apply, please complete the online application form in full.

Applications must include: 

  1. Completed application form 
  2. English language requirements – click here for more information

Deadline: 15 October 2021 at 17:00 

Please note:

  • Unfortunately, we are unable to provide individual feedback to applicants.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview.
  • At this stage only successful candidates will be contacted to submit transcripts and other relevant documentation.
  • Only their referees will also be contacted at this stage for a reference.
  • It is the candidate's responsibility to ensure the application is completed in full on time. Late and/or incomplete applications will not normally be assessed.