University of Dundee

Wellcome 4-Year PhD Programme in Integrated Molecular, Cellular and Translational Biology

The Wellcome Trust Integrated molecular, cellular and translational biology programme combines scientific excellence with a commitment to improving the working environment and transition support for trainees. This PhD programme, provided by world-renowned scientists from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee, will train the next generation of scientists at the forefront of international science. Students will join our supportive and positive research culture with the opportunity to select research projects centred around four themes:

  1. Cellular Regulation
  2. Protein Modification
  3. Infection and Immunity
  4. Drug Discovery and Translation

Around 50 different potential supervisors will participate in this programme 

Prof Tom Owen Hughes

One of the unanticipated outcomes of population based genome sequencing is the high frequency of mutations to apparently ubiquitous transcriptional and chromatin regulators in tissue specific cancers. This is the case for SWI/SNF – related chromatin remodelling complexes. Subunits of these complexes are mutated in about 20% of all tumours and at higher frequencies in cancers of specific tissues. To understand how these genes function we have engineered stem cell lines in which specific subunits of these enzymes can be degraded rapidly and specifically. This reveals a subset of genes directly affected by alterations to the composition of the complex driver slower and more widespread reprogramming of the cells.Human stem cells will be engineered to allow conditional removal of the main drivers for clear cell renal cancer (ccRCC), the SWI/SNF complex subunit PBRM1 and the E3 ligase VHL. Genes identified to be misregulated following loss of these tumour suppressors in an organoid model of human kidney represent potential therapeutic targets for what is the 9th most common cancer in the UK. Candidates will be selected on the ability to reverse the signatures of ccRCC tested.