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Postgraduate Admissions


Applications are invited for a 4-year Cancer Research UK funded PhD Studentship in the research group of Professor Steve Jackson at the Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge,

DNA in our cells is frequently subject to a wide array of molecularly distinct forms of damage. To cope with this, life has evolved multiple DNA repair and associated processes, collectively termed the DNA-damage response (DDR). While considerable progress has been made in identifying DDR components and their regulators, much remains to be learned about how they operate and are controlled.

Over the past few years, members of the Steve Jackson laboratory (including several past and existing graduate students) have successfully implemented state-of-the art CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing and CRISPR/Cas9 genetic screens to identify and characterize novel DNA repair proteins and regulators, including those imparting sensitivity or resistance to anti-cancer drugs (e.g., Balmus et al., Nat Commun. 2019 Jan 8;10(1):87 and Dev et al., Nat Cell Biol. 2018 Aug;20(8):954-965). This PhD project will build on this and other expertise in the host laboratory to discover new functional interactions and networks in DNA repair and associated DNA-damage responses (DDR), and where possible translate this knowledge towards expanding our understanding of drug sensitivity and resistance in cancer therapy.

Applications are invited from recent graduates or final year undergraduates who hold or expect to gain a first/upper second-class degree (or equivalent) in a biological discipline that is relevant to the project. Applicants with relevant research experience, gained through Master's study or while working in a laboratory are strongly encouraged to apply. Ideally, the candidate will have a strong background in molecular and cellular biology. Motivation, creativity and intellectual independence are desirable, as are excellent communication skills with the ability to work collaboratively.

This project is funded by a Cancer Research UK studentship and will commence in October 2022 and provides a maintenance grant and tuition fees at the UK rate. Non-UK applicants will be considered only if they are able to fund the overseas fees differential or if they are awarded a suitable scholarship.

To apply, please email a cover letter, CV, academic transcripts, and contact details for at least two academic referees to: Dr Kate Dry (Information Specialist, Jackson lab),

Please quote reference PR28165 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy. The studentship will be administered through the Department of Biochemistry, Prof Jackson's departmental affiliation. For further information about the course go to:

The closing date for applications is 21st November 2021, with interviews expected to take place shortly after this date.

For informal queries regarding the post please contact Prof Steve Jackson via his Information Specialist, Dr Kate Dry (

Please quote reference PR28165 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Key Information

Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute

Reference: PR28165

Dates and deadlines:

Friday, 24 September, 2021
Closing Date
Sunday, 21 November, 2021