|Funding for:||UK Students, EU Students, International Students|
|Funding amount:||Competition funded – the successful applicant will be put forward for funding but will be in competition with other students for a small number of studentships|
|Placed On:||4th September 2023|
|Closes:||1st December 2023|
Project Description: Cancer develops in part owing to somatic mutations acquired by so-called driver genes. About 90% of colorectal cancers are caused by mutations in the classical tumour suppressor gene, APC. These mutations are thought to lead to constitutive activation of the Wnt signalling pathway, leading to cell proliferation and stem-like properties. Another Wnt pathway driver gene inactivated in 10-15% of colorectal cancers is called AMER1, meaning APC Membrane Recruitment protein 1. AMER1 mutations almost never occur in the absence of APC mutations, yet a simple analysis would suggest that AMER1 mutations are redundant in the presence of mutated APC and so should not be found in human colorectal tumours. Even more confusingly, germline APC mutations predispose to colorectal cancer, whereas germline AMER1 mutations cause the very rare human disease of osteopathia striata with cranial sclerosis. This project uses cancer 'omics data, animal models and intestinal organoids with the aim of explaining how somatic AMER1 mutations help a cell become cancerous, and whether AMER1 is only important on a background of APC mutation. Understanding what AMER1 mutation adds to APC mutation will provide important insights into why colorectal tumours grow and may suggest strategies to prevent or treat these clinically important malignancies.
Training Opportunities: Training will be provided in human cancer genetics and multiomic analysis, animal and cell models of cancer, basic tissue morphology, and bioinformatic/statistical analysis of 'omic data.
Relevant Publications: Tanneberger, K., Pfister, A.S., Kriz, V., Bryja, V., Schambony, A. and Behrens, J., 2011. Structural and functional characterization of the Wnt inhibitor APC membrane recruitment 1 (Amer1). Journal of Biological Chemistry, 286(22), pp.19204-19214. Castro-Giner, F., Ratcliffe, P. and Tomlinson, I., 2015. The mini-driver model of polygenic cancer evolution. Nature Reviews Cancer, 15(11), pp.680-685. van Ginkel, J., Tomlinson, I. and Soriano, I., 2023. The evolutionary landscape of colorectal tumorigenesis: recent paradigms, models, and hypotheses. Gastroenterology, 164(5), pp.841-846.
Funding: competition funded – the successful applicant will be put forward for funding but will be in competition with other students for a small number of studentships. If unsuccessful in obtaining a funded studentship, they will still be able to take up this place on the DPhil Oncology but will need to independently source funding for tuition fees and living expenses.
Entry Requirements and How to Apply: first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree (or predicted) in a biological, medical, mathematical or physical science or international equivalent.
Enquire: Prof Ian Tomlinson firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Link - Dept Oncology website
General Enquiries: email@example.com
Apply using course DPhil in Oncology
Type / Role: