PhD Studentship in childhood oncology

Published: Wednesday 6 July 2016

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD Studentship supported by Neuroblastoma UK. The student working on this project will investigate the role of secreted vescicles (exosomes) in tumour cell metabolism and vascularisation. The context will be neuroblastoma, a paediatric malignancy originating from the peripheral nervous system for which there is no definitive cure.

The studentship is for UK/EU residents only and includes tuition fees and a tax-free stipend of £18,000 per year for 3 years. In addition, funds are available for participation to international research conferences. Start date at Brunel will be the 1st October 2016.

The work will be conducted in the Department of Life Sciences in collaboration with clinicians and researchers at the UCL Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital, offering to the student the opportunity to be part of a research network with an international reputation in paediatric oncology.


The project would be ideally suited to a student with a minimum of a 2:1 Honours degree in biology, biochemistry, biotechnology or similar disciplines. A masters qualification in cellular and/or molecular biology is highly desirable. Hands on experience in mammalian cell culturing, molecular cloning, gene targeting, protein and nucleic acid analysis is essential.

Project details

Exosomes are extracellular vesicles that can deliver proteins and nucleic acids to recipient cells. The purpose of this investigation is to verify whether proteins contained in exosomes secreted by neuroblastoma cells in a MYC-dependent manner contribute to tumourigenesis and cancer progression. Specifically, the student will:

  • Validate preliminary mass spectrometry data by assessing the presence of MYC-inducible exosomal protein and RNAs in the supernatant of cell lines and the plasma of neuroblastoma patients.

  • Purify exosomes from MYCN expressing and non-expressing cell lines. The isolated exosomes will be delivered to recipient cells to verify whether they affect directly or indirectly their metabolism, immune profile or angiogenic activity.

Informal enquires may be addressed to Professor Arturo Sala, e-mail:

How to apply

If you wish to apply, please e-mail the following to by noon on the 20th July 2016.

    • An up-to-date CV
    • A single-page A4 single-spaced covering letter setting out why you are a suitable candidate. Please state the name of the project at the top of the page.
    • Names and contact details for two referees;
    • A copy of your highest degree certificate and transcript.
    • A copy of your English language qualification (where applicable).

Short-listed applicants will be required to attend an interview. Applicants chosen for interview will be instructed to submit a formal online application via Admissions.

For further information about how to apply please contact the College of Health and Life Sciences Postgraduate Research Student Office on

Page last updated: Wednesday 06 July 2016