PhD Studentship: Childhood Brain Tumour Genomic Heterogeneity

University of Nottingham - Child Health, Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Location: UK Other

Children’s brain tumours account for 25% of childhood cancer and although treatments have improved, we still only cure 50% of children diagnosed in the UK every year. Moreover, a substantial proportion of those cured are left with disabilities due to treatment related side-effects. Improvements in treatment and outcome of children’s brain tumours will most likely come from a better understanding of their underlying biology leading to improved treatments. The Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre (CBTRC) was set up to address this issue and brings together multidisciplinary researchers from clinical, translational and basic science arenas focused upon testing hypotheses generated by the clinical needs of the child or young person, presenting with a tumour of the central nervous system. The Centre links over 60 researchers from ten departments across the University and Nottingham University Hospital Departments conducting clinical and scientific research directed at increasing our understanding of the biological nature of childhood brain tumours and using this knowledge to optimize the health outcomes for the child and family.

CBTRC are offering a 3-year PhD project characterising the intra-tumour transcriptome of the childhood brain tumour, ependymoma funded by the Stoneygate Trust. We have little understanding of sub-clonal gene expression variation within these neoplasms and indeed childhood brain tumours in general, due in part to the practical obstacles in obtaining tumour resected fragments from multiple intra-tumour regions. The project will analyse paediatric ependymoma tissue isolated from multiple, distinct intra-tumour regions, using RNA-sequencing, permitting a read-out of the tumour exome including spiced isoforms, deletions and truncations. The data will then be integrated with metabolomics data generated from the same samples. The final stage of the PhD will involve assessment of putative therapy targets in vitro (and where feasible, in vivo) using paediatric ependymoma cells lines, based upon markers identified by genomic analyses. The appointed student will work closely with a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Analytical Bioscience.

The project will be based at the CBTRC, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham and be supervised by Dr. Ruman Rahman (Assistant Professor of Molecular Neuro-Oncology) and Prof. Richard Grundy (Professor of Paediatric Neuro –Oncology and Cancer Biology).

Applicants should hold, or expect to hold, a first or upper second class degree in one of the following disciplines: Molecular/Cellular Biology, Genetics, Developmental Biology or Biochemistry. MSc graduates are also encouraged to apply.

This studentship is available from October 2018 for a period of 3 years. Fees will be covered with a stipend of £14,954 per annum. The studentship is only available to UK/EU students due to funding restrictions.

To apply, students should send a 2-page CV and cover letter to Please quote ref: MED1484 Closing date: 25 May 2018

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Midlands of England