UCL Cancer Institute Students on stairs

Opportunities for PhD Studentships and Clinical Fellowships


A systems immunology approach to graft-versus-host disease


We are seeking applications from highly talented and motivated individuals for a Gordon Pillar (Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research)-funded 4-year PhD studentship.

In this project, we will test the concept that GVHD-target organs are major participants in shaping tissue injury, either as a result of differential antigen expression or by their provision of extrinsic signals to incoming donor T cells. As part of our LLR program, we are tracking clonal or polyclonal donor T cell responses across multiple sites in pre-clinical models of GVHD and evaluating transcriptional profiles and/or TCR sequences of purified cell populations. The student will use computational methods in a ‘dry lab’ environment to assess these microarray and TCR sequence data and to evaluate the extent to which GVHD is driven by TCR repertoire-dependent or independent factors. Systematic methods will be used to compare differentially expressed genes in our models with (1) multiple chipSeq maps that provide a genome-wide view of transcription factor binding sites and (2) extensive, publicly available gene expression datasets for human and murine T cells in other inflammatory conditions. These approaches will be used to identify novel regulatory or downstream effector pathways implicated in GVHD. Extensive cross talk between ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ lab researchers in our LLR program will permit further experimentation or data analysis as new hypotheses are formulated and tested. Please note that candidates should have a mathematical/computational background.

Applicants must possess or expect to receive at least an Upper Second Class (2.1) Honours degree (or equivalent) in the biological sciences or a relevant discipline and have had some research experience.

To apply please send an e-mail to scholarships{at}cancer.ucl.ac.uk, with ‘Gordon Pillar studentship’ in the subject line:

1) An electronic CV, which clearly states your country of usual residence and nationality

2) A one page summary of how your research interests and academic background fit in with those of the current research which is undertaken at the UCL Cancer Institute.

3) Two reference letters: please ask your referees to send this to scholarships{at}cancer.ucl.ac.uk, with your name as the subject line.

CLOSING DATE: May 1st 2014

Interviews are planned for May/June 2014. Due to the volume of applications received, we will only contact you if we require further information or if you have been selected for interview.

For questions about the project please contact Professor Ronjon Chakraverty (r.chakraverty@ucl.ac.uk) or Dr Clare Bennett (c.bennett@ucl.ac.uk).