PhD Studentship – Clonal and cell state heterogeneity in breast cancer xenografts (Fixed Term)

Fixed Term
  • Post Date: October 15, 2019
  • Apply Before: November 30, 2019
Job Description

The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute (CRUK CI) is a joint venture between the Charity, Cancer Research UK, and the University of Cambridge. 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 and gaining a studentship in the Institute is an excellent opportunity to start a research career in an environment committed to training outstanding cancer research scientists of the future. For further information, go to:

Professor Carlos Caldas, Head of the research group focussing on the Functional genomics of breast cancer, wishes to appoint a student, to commence study in October 2020, to work on the project entitled: Clonal and cell state heterogeneity in breast cancer xenografts. For further information about Professor Caldas’ group, go to

Project details:
Members of the Caldas research team have developed a biobank of patient-derived breast cancer xenografts (Bruna et al, Cell 2016) that represent the inter- and intra-tumour heterogeneity of human breast cancers (Curtis et al, Nature 2012; Pereira et al, Nat Commun 2016; Rueda et al, Nature 2019). These models are ideal tools to study clonal and cell state heterogeneity and how it affects tumour behaviour (dormancy, metastases, therapy resistance). The student will work on new clonal and cell state marking approaches, using barcoding and single cell analysis, to study evolution of the xenografts in vivo in response to perturbations (drugs, radiation, CRISPR screens). The aim is to unravel the mechanisms of the diverse tumour responses.

Further reading:
Bruna A, Rueda OM, Greenwood W, et al. A Biobank of Breast Cancer Explants with Preserved Intra-tumor Heterogeneity to Screen Anticancer Compounds. Cell 2016; 167 (1):260-74.
Curtis C, Shah SP, Chin SF, et al. The genomic and transcriptomic architecture of 2,000 breast tumours reveals novel subgroups. Nature 2012; 486 (7403):346-52.
Pereira B, Chin SF, Rueda OM, et al. The somatic mutation profiles of 2,433 breast cancers refine their genomic and transcriptomic landscapes. Nat Communications 2016; 7 (11479).
Rueda OM, Sammut SJ, Seoane JA, Chin SF et al, Dynamics of breast-cancer relapse reveal late-recurring ER-positive genomic subgroups. Nature 2019; 567 (7748): 399-404.

Preferred skills/knowledge
Experience both in wet lab and dry lab is desirable; however outstanding individuals with either a purely quantitative background such as Physics or Mathematics, or experimental laboratory background such as Biotechnology are also welcome to apply. The successful candidate must be strongly motivated to drive an independent research project, but also be a highly collaborative individual. A strong interest in translational cancer research is needed to work in the Caldas laboratory.

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

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.

How to apply
All applications need to be made using the University Applicant Portal. Please visit: for further information about the course and to access the applicant portal.

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.
Research: If you wish to be considered for more than one studentship, please enter the names of all of the supervisors you wish to consider your application in the ‘Research summary’ text box. If you only wish your application to be considered by a single supervisor, then please enter their name in the ‘Research Supervisor’ text box. Please describe your past ‘Research experience’ in the appropriate text box.

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

Please quote reference SW21080 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.