PhD Studentship, Cancer Sciences

Southampton, United Kingdom
£15,668 plus fees for 36 months, full time
18 May 2021
End of advertisement period
11 Jun 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Cancer Sciences

Location:  Southampton General Hospital
Closing Date:  Friday 11 June 2021
Reference:  1375621CM

Investigating the therapeutic efficacy of EZH2 inhibitors for the treatment of diseases with pathogenic histone modifying enzyme mutations

Lead Institute / Faculty: Cancer Sciences, Medicine

Main Supervisor: Dr Zoë Walters

Other members of the supervisory team: Dr Gabrielle Wheway, Dr Jane Gibson, Dr Sandrine Willaime-Morawek

Amount of stipend and fees: £15,668 plus fees for 36 months, full time

Project description: 

We are seeking to recruit an enthusiastic PhD student to investigate the role of a histone modifying enzyme in developmental disorders, starting in October 2021. This PhD is jointly funded by Wessex Medical Research and Rosetrees Trust, and will be guided by a supportive supervisory team who are particularly interested in receiving applications from individuals from underrepresented groups in academia.

Globally, almost 53 million children under the age of 5 had diagnosed developmental disabilities (DDs) in 2016, with numbers rising. This broad range of genetic conditions are difficult to genetically diagnose due to extensive genetic heterogeneity and have almost no treatment options. Histone modifying enzymes (HMEs), have been implicated in the pathogenesis of a number of diseases including developmental disorders, where mutations in HMEs have been frequently noted. 

This project will use state-of-the-art CRISPR gene editing methods to understand the role of specific histone modifying enzymes in the pathogenesis of developmental disorders. The student will undertake RNA-sequencing to understand the effect these mutations have on the transcriptome and finally will test a novel potential therapy for the treatment of these disorders. 

The student will work with a cross-school supervisory team with significant expertise in epigenetics, translational medicine, bioinformatics and neurodevelopmental biology which reflects the multi-disciplinary and translational nature of the project. 

In addition to postgraduate research training provided by the Faculty of Medicine, the student will gain valuable skills in CRISPR gene editing techniques, bioinformatics, translational medicine and stem cell manipulation. There will also be opportunities for national and international training and presentation of research.

Please contact:  Dr Zoë Walters (

Person Specification:  See below

An opportunity has arisen for a PhD student to join our laboratory in the Faculty of Medicine based at Southampton University Hospital Trust. The successful candidate will join a collaborative team of researchers with a strong international reputation in epigenetics, genome editing techniques, bioinformatics and stem cell biology. This research group sits within the Schools of Cancer Sciences, Human Development and Health and Clinical and Experimental Sciences, all of which are recognised as world leaders in the fields of cancer biology, human development and clinical medicine. As part of this project the student will be trained in cell culture, CRISPR genome editing, RNA-sequencing, epigenetic techniques, stem cell manipulation and therapeutic interventions. The successful candidate should have experience in one or more of the following fields: molecular biology, human development, biomedical sciences, and/or genome editing. Candidates should hold, or realistically expect to obtain, a first-class or upper-second-class honours degree/MSc in biological or medical sciences. 

The successful candidate is likely to have the following qualifications:

  • A 1st or 2:1 class Bachelors honours degree in a relevant discipline or Merit or Distinction class Masters degree in a relevant discipline 

Funding information:
Due to funding restrictions this position is only open to UK applicants. 

This PhD Studentship is jointly funded by Wessex Medica Research and Rosetrees Trust providing stipend and tuition fees for 3 years. Stipend will be matched to research council tariffs  (£15,668 for 2021/22 plus fees for three years).

Administrative contact and how to apply:

Please complete the University's online application form, which you can find at

You should enter Dr Zoë Walters as your proposed supervisor. To support your application provide an academic CV (including contact details of two referees), official academic transcripts and a personal statement (outlining your suitability for the studentship, what you hope to achieve from the PhD and your research experience to date).

Informal enquiries relating to the project or candidate suitability should be directed to Dr Zoë Walters (

Closing date:  11th June 2021

Interview date:  25th June 2021

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