Putting cancer to rest: identifying mechanisms inactivating brain cancer stem cells

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship available at the Dr Claudia Barros group, Peninsula Medical School


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.

Director of Studies: Dr Claudia Barros 
2nd Supervisor: Dr Florian Siebzehnrubl (fas@cardiff.ac.uk
3rd Supervisor: Dr Torsten Bossing
4th Supervisor: Dr Jon Gil-Ranedo 

The studentship is to start on 1 October 2021.

Project description

Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs) can (re)-initiate whole tumour masses and show high resistance to conventional cancer therapies. They have therefore emerged as promising targets in cancer treatment. This project is devoted to characterise the role of novel candidate genes in brain CSCs and tumour initiation, which have been identified by our team. The PhD candidate will make use of Drosophila models to examine identified genes in the conversion of normal neural stem lineage cells into brain CSCs via gain and loss of function assays, providing a unique opportunity to unravel their role in live brains at single-cell resolution. Translation of gene expression and functional findings will be performed using glioma tumour samples and patient-derived glioblastoma CSCs. Potential effects in combination with current standard chemotherapy on brain CSCs will also be examined. The project will be primarily based in the laboratory of Dr Barros at the University of Plymouth in collaboration with Drs Bossing and Gil-Ranedo, as well as with Dr Siebzehnrubl, Cardiff University.


Applicants must have a first or upper second-class honours degree in a directly relevant subject and preferably a related masters or extended laboratory research experience. International students must have a IELTS score of 6.5 or above (with no less than 5.5 in any element). Experience in genetics, cellular and molecular biology, and/or confocal imaging is desired. A high interest in neural stem cell and brain tumour biology is a must.

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 Dr Claudia Barros.

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

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

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 31 July 2021. 

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview before 31 August 2021. 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 has been unsuccessful on this occasion.