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Head and neck cancer biology

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD Studentship supported by the Oracle Cancer Trust.

The student working on this project will investigate the role of signaling pathways downstream of MYB oncoproteins in adenoid cystic carcinoma. Adenoid cystic carcinoma is a rare, potentially fatal head and neck cancer for which there is no definitive cure.

The studentship is for UK/EU residents only and includes Home/EU tuition fees and a tax-free stipend (£18,000 to 23,000 per year, depending on candidate experience and skills) for 3 years. In addition, funds are available for participation to international research conferences and travel to collaborating laboratories. It is anticipated that the start date will be 1st September 2019.

The work will be conducted in the Department of Life Sciences in Brunel University in collaboration with the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, offering to the student the opportunity to be part of a research network with an international reputation in cancer biology.

The student will investigate the role of the transcription factor and protooncogene MYB, frequently altered in adenoid cystic carcinoma, in promoting radio and chemo-resistance. The main goal of the study is to validate the hypothesis that disrupting a signaling axis identified in our laboratory connecting MYB to the ATR kinase causes enhanced sensitivity of cancer cells to radiation and/or chemotherapy. The ultimate objective of the research is to improve treatment and survival of patients with head and neck cancer.

Informal enquires may be addressed to Professor Arturo Sala, e-mail: arturo.sala@brunel.ac.uk


The project would be ideally suited to a student with a first or upper second class degree in biology, pharmacology, biotechnology or similar disciplines. A master’s qualification in cancer biology or pharmacogenomics is highly desirable. Hands on experience in cancer models, mammalian cell culturing, molecular cloning, gene targeting, protein and nucleic acid analysis is essential.

How to apply

If you wish to apply, please e-mail the following to chls-pgr-office@brunel.ac.uk by 10 May 2019 .

  • 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 chls-pgr-office@brunel.ac.uk.