Bioinformatic and functional analysis of proteomic data of the common brain tumour meningioma

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship should start on 1 October 2021.

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To apply please use the online application form. Simply search for PhD Medical Studies, then clearly state that you are applying for a PhD studentship and name the project at the top of your personal statement.

Online application

Before applying, please ensure you have read the Doctoral College’s general information on applying for a research degree.

For more information on the admissions process please contact doctoralcollege@plymouth.ac.uk.

Project description 

Meningiomas are the most frequent intracranial brain tumour. Significant progress has been made in the molecular understanding of meningioma (1). However, no progress has been made in regards to finding drug treatments for meningiomas.

We have performed a systematic proteomic screen of meningiomas of different grades (2) and genotypes (Akther in preparation). Although upregulated and downregulated differentially expressed proteins were identified, subsequent bioinformatics analyses including pathway analysis and functional analysis focused on upregulated proteins (2).

For a more complete understanding of proteins relevant in meningioma development and progression a systematic analysis and validation of downregulated proteins and signalling pathways from existing datasets is needed. In particular, the role of tumour suppressor genes in contributing to meningioma progression has not been fully elucidated, this includes phosphatases which are frequently downregulated in tumours. Larger scale RNA expression studies showed examples of downregulation (3, 4) associated with meningioma progression. Comparing the RNA expression data from with our proteomic data we found a number of concordantly downregulated RNA’s and protein (5).

In addition to bioinformatics analysis of existing large datasets the PhD project will include validation of differentially regulated proteins’ with targeted proteomics and functional analysis in established in vitro disease models. 

The supervisory team is part of our large Brain Tumour centre and brings together expertise in brain tumour pathology, basic mechanisms of tumourigenesis and translation. This project will not use animals or animal derived cells or tissues. Training will be provided for the development of both knowledge and technical skills to enable the trainee to conduct high-quality and independent research.

 

1. Suppiah S, Nassiri F, Bi WL, Dunn IF, Hanemann CO, Horbinski CM, et al. Molecular and translational advances in meningiomas. Neuro-oncology. 2019;21(Supplement_1):i4-i17.

2. Dunn J, Ferluga S, Sharma V, Futschik M, Hilton DA, Adams CL, et al. Proteomic analysis discovers the differential expression of novel proteins and phosphoproteins in meningioma including NEK9, HK2 and SET and deregulation of RNA metabolism. EBioMedicine. 2018.

3. Schmidt M, Mock A, Jungk C, Sahm F, Ull AT, Warta R, et al. Transcriptomic analysis of aggressive meningiomas identifies PTTG1 and LEPR as prognostic biomarkers independent of WHO grade. Oncotarget. 2016;7(12):14551-68.

4. Viaene AN, Zhang B, Martinez-Lage M, Xiang C, Tosi U, Thawani JP, et al. Transcriptome signatures associated with meningioma progression. Acta neuropathologica communications. 2019;7(1):67.

5. Dunn J, Lenis VP, Hilton DA, Warta R, Herold-Mende C, Hanemann CO, et al. Integration and Comparison of Transcriptomic and Proteomic Data for Meningioma. Cancers. 2020;12(11).

Eligibility 

Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant masters qualification.

The studentship is supported for three years and includes full home tuition fees plus a stipend of £15,609 per annum (2021/22 rate). The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for home fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover international fees will have to cover the difference between the home and the international tuition fee rates (approximately £12,697 per annum). 

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Professor C Oliver Hanemann. Oliver.Hanemann@plymouth.ac.uk. However, applications must be made online in accordance with the details shown at the top of this page.

Please read the list of supporting documents to upload with your application.

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 06 June 2021. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview later in June. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received an offer of a place within six weeks of the closing date should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.