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Research MPhil on Epigenetics of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (Fees only)

The Centre for Genome Engineering and Maintenance (CenGEM) and Division of Biosciences at Brunel University London is offering a funded MPhil research studentship (fees-only) for the investigation of the cross-talk between DNA and histone modifications in the evolution of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. The project will be developed with Dr Cristina Pina's Lab, who has recently relocated from the University of Cambridge (https://crukcambridgecentre.org.uk/users/cp53367480558). The lab focuses on epigenetic and transcriptional sources of variability between genetically-identical stem and cancer cells to understand how cell fate decisions are made, and how they can be manipulated therapeutically to modify cancer evolution and revert disease progression.

Based in the College of Health and Life Sciences, and funded by the British Society of Haematology; the studentship offers Home/EU tuition fees and research bench fees, for a maximum of 12 months.  Preferred start date is 1 April 2020, but October applications will also be considered.

The MPhil studentship will specifically analyse the cross-talk between DNA methylation and gene body histone methylation in the context of acute myeloid leukaemia, seeking to: (1) Understand individual and combined roles of methyl-modifications on the transcriptional activity of key disease-modifying loci; and (2) Extend the therapeutic efficiency of currently available DNA demethylating agents through pre-clinical exploration of combinatorial epigenetic drug regimes. The project will involve a broad range of cellular and molecular techniques for bulk and single-cell analysis of leukaemia cells. These will include chromatin immunoprecipitation and bisulfite sequencing, transcriptional profiling, drug-response assays, clonal proliferation and differentiation assays, and flow cytometry.

The successful candidate will be supervised by Dr Cristina Pina. For informal discussions about this studentship, please contact Dr Pina directly (cristina.pina@brunel.ac.uk).


Candidates should have an undergraduate degree (first or upper second class) or equivalent qualification in Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Biochemistry, Genetics or a related subject. An intercalated research placement or extra-mural year are highly desirable. Applicants who have not been awarded a degree by a University in the UK will be expected to demonstrate English language skills to IELTS 7.0 (minimum 6.0 in any section).

How to apply

If you wish to apply, please e-mail the following to chls-pgr-office@brunel.ac.uk by 28 February 2020.

  • An up-to-date CV.
  • A single-page A4 single-spaced personal statement outlining your qualifications and skills and demonstrating what personal characteristics make you the ideal candidate for this studentship.
  • Names and contact details for two academic 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.