Identification of novel biomarkers and drug targets in genetically stratified meningiomas

MPhil/PhD studentship available full-time or part-time

Project title:  Identification of novel biomarkers and drug targets in genetically stratified meningiomas: PUPSMD-16-17-017

Start date: 1 January 2018

Director of Studies: Professor Oliver Hanemann

2nd Supervisor: Dr Sara Ferluga

3rd Supervisor: Dr Claire Adams

Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry are seeking to attract PhD candidates of outstanding ability to join their exciting and rapidly expanding programme of internationally-rated research. The Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry are committed to research excellence with a recent £25 million investment in staff and facilities. Medical research at PUPSMD was ranked first for outputs in REF2014.

Applications are invited from highly motivated qualified graduates, 2:1 or above, and preferably a relevant MSc or MRes qualification. International students must also have an IELTS score of 7.0 or above (with no less than 6.5 in any element).

Meningiomas are the most common brain tumours affecting brain and spinal cord. The heterogeneity of these tumours and the profound lack of knowledge about specific markers contribute to make the development of new therapeutics challenging. However, the genetic background of meningioma is well characterized with the loss/mutation of the gene NF2 (Merlin) being the most common together with other sporadic mutations identified in NF2+/+ meningiomas. Sporadic mutations includes TRAF7, KLF4, SMO and AKT1.

To characterise the molecular signature of meningiomas we use an unbiased proteomic approach that involves the analysis of the proteome and the phosphoproteome of primary meningioma cells and tissue. The student will carry out proteome analysis of stratified meningiomas with TRAF7/KLF4 and AKT1/TRAF7 mutations, comparing the total and phosphoproteome of these to our existing datasets. To verify potential drug targets within these meningioma subgroups, we will use our well-established in vitro model and functional assays.

For further information regarding the project, please contact Dr Sara Ferluga ( However, applications must be made in accordance with the details shown below.

Funding notes

The studentship is supported for three years and includes full home/EU tuition fees plus a stipend of £14,553 per annum. The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for home/EU fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover overseas fees will have to cover the difference between the home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates For the 17/18 academic year the difference in fee is £10,350. If you are selected you will be required to provide financial assurances. 

To apply:

Follow the link and click ‘Apply online’ to access the application form. Please mark the application ref: PUPSMD-16-17-017. Please Note: you do not need to submit a project proposal with your application.

Further information on the application process. If you have any questions on the admissions process contact  

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 31 October 2017. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received an offer of a place by 5 December 2017 should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.