PhD Studentship: The Role of Exosomes in Alpha Particles (Α-Particles) Radiation-Induced Genomic Instability & Potential Lung Cancer Induction

Oxford Brookes University - Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

3 Year Full Time studentship

Eligibility: Home UK/EU applicants who must be permanently resident in UK/EU

Closing date: 12 January 2018 (midnight UK time)

Start Date: September 2018

Value p.a.: Bursary of £14500 (or 2017/18) and fees.

Main supervisor: Dr Munira Kadhim

Name of Director of Studies (DoS): Munira Kadhim

Name of 2nd Supervisors: Mark Hill & Susan Brooks

Name of Additional Supervisor: Edwin Goodwin

Project description:

High linear energy transfer (LET) alpha-particles from naturally occurring radon gas dominate human radiation exposure and are the leading cause of lung cancer in humans after smoking. Alpha-particles induce genomic instability (resulting in increased mutation rate) and bystander effects (radiation-like effects induced in unexposed cells) that contribute to cancer development. Recent research in our lab has shown that exposure of cells/tissues to x-rays induces signal transfer through extracellular vesicles (EVs), including exosomes. However, alpha-particles, whose energy deposition pattern and resulting biological effects differ markedly from x-rays, have not yet been studied. This project aims to: investigate exosomes released by lung epithelial cells before and after exposure to different doses and dose rates of alpha-particles, identify molecular signals encapsulated by exosomes, and model the effects induced in un-irradiated lung cells exposed to them.Techniques will include: exosome isolation/purification, analysis of exosome cargo, and functional analysis, including assessment of DNA damage/apoptosis, immune activation, cell cycle/cell population effects and cell motility. The project will establish whether exosomal cargo carries prognostic/diagnostic potential. It will facilitate a search for biomarkers of exposure to alpha particles for possible use in a test to identify those individuals at highest risk for lung cancer caused by radon exposure.

Please contact Dr Kadhim for more information.

As part of their Studentship, any successful applicant will be required to undertake up to 6 hours undergraduate teaching/demonstrating a week during semesters on undergraduate practicals without further remuneration. Training will be given.

Contact: Dr Munira Kadhim (

Requirements: Applicants should be of the highest quality and capable of submitting a PhD thesis within 3 years. Applicants should have a first class or upper second class (minimum 2.1) honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or an acceptable equivalent qualification. EU Applicants must have an IELTS Academic test certificate with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued since 12th January 2016 by an approved test centre. We will consider alternative acceptable evidence of English Language ability.

Application procedure:

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