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Brk and mTOR signalling: implications for Taxol resistance

One of the major causes of death amongst breast cancer patients is due to the development of distal metastases and the acquisition of resistance to chemotherapeutic agents. There is a scientific and clinical need to understand the alterations in cellular signalling pathways that could contribute to chemotherapeutic resistance in breast cancer. Our preliminary data implicates both that Brk expression and mTOR signalling are up-regulated in resistance to Taxol, a chemotherapeutic drug that is widely used in treating breast cancer. This project seeks to investigate the involvement of Brk, a kinase over expressed in up to 86% of breast cancers, in regulating mTOR signalling in the development of drug resistance.

This project seeks to investigate the involvement of Brk, a kinase over expressed in up to 86% of breast cancers, in regulating mTOR signalling in the development of Taxol resistance. You will examine the gene expression of mTOR components by real-time Q-PCR in Brk-suppressed and Brk-overexpressing breast cancer cells. Relative phosphorylation levels will also be determined using phospho-specific antibody arrays. To determine whether mTOR, is a Brk substrate, we will immunoprecipitate Brk and western blot for members of the mTOR pathway. We will also examine whether Brk influences the effects of mTOR inhibitors and whether combinations of Brk and mTOR inhibitors alter sensitivity to Taxol in Taxol-resistant cells.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Research-degrees/Research-degree-funding. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.