Driving differentiation of Cancer Stem Cells to target Brain Tumour growth

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship available at Dr Claudia Barros’ group. The studentship will start on 1 October 2023.


To apply please use the online application form. Simply search for PhD Medical Studies (and select the entry point of October 2023), 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 research.degree.admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Director of Studies: Dr Claudia Barros
2nd Supervisor: Dr Jon Gil-Ranedo
3rd Supervisor: Dr Torsten Bossing 
Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship available at Dr Claudia Barros’ group, Peninsula Medical School, University of Plymouth, UK.
The studentship will start on 1 October 2023. However, if a suitably qualified candidate can start on 1 April 2023, this may also be considered. Full-time study mode.

Project description

Current cancer therapies are not efficient in targeting brain Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs), which can (re)-initiate and explain the frequent relapse of brain tumours. Brain tumours kill more children and adults under 40 than any other cancer. This project is dedicated to the identification and characterisation of mechanisms underlying brain tumourigenesis. It will focus on exposing genes and molecular programmes controlling the fate of brains CSCs that may drive these into differentiation, preventing tumour growth. Drosophila will be used to examine candidate gene function in brain tumour development, providing a unique opportunity to unravel their role in live brains. Translation of findings will be performed using patient-derived glioblastoma stem cells and glioma samples.
The project will be based in the laboratory of Dr Barros, part of the Plymouth Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence and sponsored by Brain Tumour Research.


Applicants must have a first or good upper second-class honours degree in an appropriate subject, and preferably a relevant masters degree or extended laboratory research experience. We are looking for a candidate with experience in genetics, molecular biology, immunohistochemistry, cell culture, biochemistry and/or confocal imaging. Experience in Drosophila or other in vivo model may be advantageous. A high interest in neural stem cell and brain tumour biology is a must.
The studentship is supported for 3 years and includes full Home tuition fees plus a stipend of £17,668 per annum (2022/23 rate). The fourth of the four-year registration period is a self-funded ‘writing-up’ year. The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for Home fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants required to cover International fees will have to cover the difference between the Home and the International tuition fee rates (approximately £12,670 per annum). International students must have a IELTS score of 6.5 or above (with no less than 5.5 in any element).
If you wish to discuss this PhD research project further informally, please contact Dr Claudia Barros by email.
Please see our 'how to apply for a research degree' page for a list of supporting documents to upload with your application.
For more information on the admissions process generally, please contact research.degree.admissions@plymouth.ac.uk
The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 3 February 2023. 
Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview before 28 February 2023. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received a response within six weeks of the closing date should consider their application unsuccessful on this occasion.