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Project title: Phytochemicals and Cancer Prevention (BAO_U19CPRT2)

University of East Anglia - Norwich Medical School

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Norwich
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £15,009
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 3rd September 2019
Closes: 31st October 2019
Reference: BAO_U19CPRT2

Start date: April 2020 

Closing date: 31 October 2019 

No. of positions available: 1

Hours: Full time 

Contract: Temporary  

Supervisor:  Primary supervisor: Dr Yongping Bao, Secondary supervisor: Professor Andrea Munsterberg 

Project description: Many phytochemicals have been shown to possess hormetic properties, i.e. to exert low dose stimulation and high dose inhibition of cell growth. We have previously shown that the dietary isothiocyanate (ITC) sulforaphane (SFN) has such biphasic effects on cell proliferation, migration and angiogenesis (Bao et al., PloS One 2014; Liu et al., Sci Rep. 2017), whereas ITCs in nanoparticle form do not have this hormetic property (Liu et al., Sci Rep 2018). Co-encapsulation of cisplatin and SFN also produced a greater anti-cancer effect (unpublished data). In this PhD project, the mechanisms of the hormetic activities will be investigated using in vitro cell culture and in vivo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) models. Key signalling pathways including those of Nrf2/Keap1, NF-κB and Sirtuin-FOXO will be an initial focus. Novel targets will be unveiled using RNA-Seq and Omics technology.

The results of this study will help to define whether isothiocyanates (at low doses) are a risk factor for cancer development, and if high doses may have greater potential in management of cancer.  Furthermore, an improved understanding of the hormetic properties of these bioactive plant phytochemicals may help to realize their health-promoting potential in the field of cancer prevention.

Person Specification: 

Acceptable first-degree subject areas including Biochemistry, Cell/Molecular Biology, Cancer Biology, and Nutrition.

The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1 or above or a Masters degree.

Funding notes: This PhD studentship is funded by the Cancer Prevention Research Trust. Funding comprises Home/EU fees and an annual stipend of £15,009. Overseas applicants may apply but are required to fund the difference between Home/EU and overseas tuition fees.  

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