Funded PhD: Identifying therapeutic targets in chemoresistant triple negative breast cancer

This project aims to understand how the novel HDAC6 inhibitor identified selectively kills TNBC cells.

Project description

Cytotoxic chemotherapy is the standard of care for patients with triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Most patients with advanced TNBC progress after chemotherapy and a large percentage die of metastatic disease. To identify novel therapeutics for the treatment of chemoresistant TNBC, we performed a high-throughput screen to identify small molecules that selectively kill drug-resistant TNBC cells. We identified a novel small molecule that selectively inhibits histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6).

To dissect the molecular signalling involved in the cell death genetic approaches, including CRISPR-cas9, along with live cell imaging with fluorescent probes, will be employed in TNBC cell lines. One limitation of working with TNBC cell lines is that they do not necessarily represent the complexity or the heterogeneity of the primary tumour. To address this issue, we aim to use TNBC patient-derived organoids (PDO) to confirm our findings.

During this project there will also be an opportunity for an international secondment at a world-leading cancer institute. The student will be provided with a well-supported environment including: a multidisciplinary supervisory team that publishes in high-impact journals, access to taught post-graduate courses and an opportunity to work closely with the Centre for Systems Medicine.

For more information on the lab, please visit the Targeted Therapeutics in Cancer website.

Tenure: Four years


Minimum requirements:

  • Upper second class (2.1) honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.
  • An MSc degree in a relevant subject.
  • You will also need to supply a copy of an academic IELTS examination, or equivalent (for candidates whose first language is not English).
  • Highly motivated with good problem-solving skills.
  • Good communication skills.
  • Ability to work on one’s own initiative as well as in a multidisciplinary, team environment.

Desirable candidate specifications include:

  • Prior laboratory research experience would be an advantage.

Important dates

  • Closing date for applications is 31 July 2020.
  • Shortlisting will take place on 7 August 2020.
  • Interviews take place in mid August.
  • The position will begin on 1 September 2020.

Please note:

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