Defining the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in therapy resistance in KRAS mutant colorectal cancer models



Funded PhD Opportunity

Defining the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in therapy resistance in KRAS mutant colorectal cancer models

Project Description

Mutant KRAS driven metabolic reprogramming is a key hallmark of cancer, providing the building blocks necessary to support aberrant cancer cell proliferation and is often achieved through rewiring glycolytic, mitochondrial and fatty acid metabolism, reportedly leading to mitochondrial dysfunction. Recent technical advances have permitted the study of cancer cell metabolic flux in vivo; hence complex cancer models have the potential to increase our understanding of the intricate interplay of tumour- and stromal-derived factors that contribute to cancer metabolic reprogramming. Importantly, changes in cancer cell metabolism presents novel vulnerabilities, that when targeted pharmacologically can limit tumour growth; and also alter the sensitivity of these cancer cells to standard-of-care chemotherapies and targeted therapies. Thus, defining the impact of metabolic reprogramming on dictating therapeutic susceptibilities and driving resistance mechanisms is imperative to improving treatment response for cancer patients.

This exciting PhD opportunity takes advantage of state-of-the-art technologies to address that question in KRAS mutant colorectal cancer, mapping metabolic vulnerabilities imposed by cancer progression and treatment, to suggest novel therapeutic strategies for patients desperately in need of treatment alternatives. The ideal candidate will have a strong background in molecular biology or metabolism, and a keen interest in cancer modelling research.



Candidates should have or expect to obtain a 2:1 or higher Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant biomedical or life sciences subject.

English Language

Candidates applying from countries where the first language is not English should produce evidence of their competence through a qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL score.

The minimum recommended score for the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science is:
• IELTS score of 6.0 with not less than 5.5 in each of the four component elements of listening, reading, speaking and writing taken within the last 2 years;
• TOEFL score of 80+ (internet basted test), taken within the last 2 years, with minimum component scores of; Listening 17, Reading 18, Speaking 20, Writing 17);
• A valid Certificate of Proficiency in English grade A or B;
• A valid Certificate of Advanced English grade A; or
• A first or upper second class honours degree from a university based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or other suitably quality assured location in a country deemed by the UK Border Agency to be majority English speaking.

For a list of English Language qualifications also accepted by the School and University please see the following link:

The English Language Unit (ELU) offers both pre-sessional and in-sessional courses in English for academic purposes and study skills. Courses vary in length and full information can be obtained from the ELU


Closing Date

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Funding Notes

*FUNDING CONFIRMED – Department for the Economy (DfE)*

Eligibility for both fees (£4260 for 2018/19, 2019/20 TBC) and maintenance (£14,777 for 2018/19, 2019/20 TBC) depends on the applicants being either an ordinary UK resident or those EU residents who have lived permanently in the UK for the 3 years immediately preceding the start of the studentship.

Non UK residents who hold EU residency may also apply but if successful may receive fees only.

For further details re eligibility criteria (including academic, citizenship and residency criteria) please click on the following link: View Website


Please visit the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, website for further details about the Centre:

When applying, please choose 'MEDICINE' as your subject area/School. 



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