This is a unique opportunity for PhD study in the world-leading Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute (CRUK CI), to start a research career in an environment committed to training outstanding cancer research scientists of the future. The Institute has excellent state-of-the-art facilities and research ranges from basic cancer biology and computational biology through to translational research and clinical application.

Graduate students play a pivotal role in the continuing success of our research programmes. If you are interested in contributing to our success, please find further information at:

Professor Sir Shankar Balasubramanian is seeking a student to study the Epigenetic Features of the Genome.

Project details
The lab exploits both chemistry and biology to address fundamental mechanisms of genome function (http://www-balasubramanian.ch.cam.ac.uk). While many genetic determinants of cancer are known, alternative nucleic acid secondary structures and chemically modified DNA (or RNA) bases can be epigenetic features of nucleic acids that are important to normal biology and in oncogenesis. The project will explore chemical modifications as epigenetic features and how these influence secondary structure formation and function in the genome of normal and cancer cells. The scope of the project may include exploring the formation and dynamics of G-quadruplex structures and modified DNA bases in the genome and their roles in gene expression, DNA replication and genome stability. We have developed methods to show that G-quadruplexes are enriched in cancer-related genes and have a profound impact on transcription (e.g., Nature Genetics 52, 878, 2020; Nature Biotechnology 33, 877, 2015; Genome Biology 22, 117, 2021, 22, 143, 2021). We have also developed genome-wide mapping and sequencing of modified bases and are now exploring further base modifications (e.g., Genome Biology 18, 23, 2017; Nature Chemical Biology 11, 555, 2015).

Preferred skills/knowledge
The student will be highly motivated, capable of independent thought and have excellent communication skills with the ability to work collaboratively. Ideally, the candidate will have a strong background in molecular biology and/or biochemistry. A good knowledge of genomics and the chemistry/chemical biology of nucleic acids is highly desirable.

This studentship is funded by Cancer Research UK and includes full funding for University and College fees and in addition, a stipend of £19,000 per annum, for 4 years.

No nationality restrictions apply to Cancer Research UK funded studentships. Applications are invited from recent graduates or final year undergraduates who hold or expect to gain a first/upper second-class degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject from any recognised university worldwide.

Please apply using the University Applicant Portal. For further information about the course and to access the applicant portal, go to:

Please select to commence study in Michaelmas term 2022 (October 2022).

To complete your on-line application, you need to provide the following:

Reference Request: The names and contact details of two academic referees who have agreed to act on your behalf.

Course Specific Question: Your statement of interest (limit of 2,500 characters) should explain why you wish to be considered for the studentship and which qualities and experience you will bring to the role. Please also state how you learned of the studentship.

Supporting Document: Please upload your CV (PDF file), which should include a list of the examinations taken at undergraduate level and if possible, your examination results

The closing date for applications is 30 November 2021.

Please quote reference SW28375 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

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