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Postgraduate Admissions


This is a unique opportunity for PhD study in the world-leading Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute (CRUK CI), to start a research career in an environment committed to training outstanding cancer research scientists of the future. The Institute has excellent state-of-the-art facilities and research ranges from basic cancer biology and computational biology through to translational research and clinical application.

Graduate students play a pivotal role in the continuing success of our research programmes. If you are interested in contributing to our success, please find further information at:

Professor Sarah Bohndiek wishes to recruit a student to work on the project entitled: Interrogating cellular metabolism using Raman spectroscopy

The mission of the VISIONLab in Cambridge is to advance our understanding of tumour evolution using next-generation imaging sciences. We are particularly interested in using non-invasive imaging to provides insights into tumour oxygenation and metabolism.

More information about the VISIONLab can be found on their website ( Requests for more information about the project or questions related to candidate experience should be made to Professor Sarah Bohndiek ( with the subject line "Raman PhD 2022" before the application to the University is complete.

Project description Raman spectroscopy is a powerful bioanalytical technique that reveals the chemical constituents of a given sample based on the inelastic scattering properties of molecular bonds. Despite the relatively weak nature of the Raman effect (fewer than 1 Raman scattering event occurs for every 10 million elastic scattering events), the advent of confocal Raman micro-spectroscopy methods that allow 3D localization of signals together with highly sensitive detectors have enabled this label-free technique to be applied in living cells. We are now able to spatially resolve the chemical composition of cells without the need for dyes or stains, which allows us to probe the subcellular dynamics of metabolites for the first time.

This PhD project will focus on the study of cancer metabolism using Raman spectroscopy. These studies will be applied to live cells in culture as well as excised tissues from patient samples, giving the student the opportunity to interact with biological and clinical collaborators, seeing their efforts transition from bench to bedside. The student will have the opportunity to work across multiple research environments and departments, with potential for research visits to other centres of excellence in Raman spectroscopy.

Desirable qualifications and skills: We are seeking a PhD candidate with a 1st class honours degree (held or predicted) in biological or biomedical sciences. We strongly value a candidate with the desire to learn, create and innovate. The project will combine experimental imaging with computational image analysis and statistics. Full training will be provided in both areas. The successful candidate should have a strong interest in cancer biology. Additional relevant skills include: excellent oral and written communication skills; strong team working skills; an ability to take initiative to solve problems; strong motivation in driving projects forward; and a significant critical thinking capability. Examples of any past experience that demonstrates these characteristics should be highlighted in the cover letter that accompanies any application. We expect the candidate will develop into an independent experimental researcher and will present their work in academic journals, as well as at conferences.

Candidates with previous experience of microscopy, for example during a Masters or Diploma degree, are particularly encouraged to apply.

Funding: This project is funded by a Cancer Research UK studentship which includes full funding for University and College fees and in addition, a stipend of £19,000 per annum, for 4 years.

Eligibility: No nationality restrictions apply to Cancer Research UK funded studentships. 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 relevant subject from any recognised university worldwide. Applicants with relevant research experience, gained through Masters study or while working in a laboratory are strongly encouraged to apply.

How to apply: Please apply using the University Applicant Portal. For further information about the course and to access the applicant portal, go to:

Please select to commence study in Michaelmas term 2022 (October 2022).

To complete your on-line application, you need to provide the following:

Reference Request: The names and contact details of two academic referees who have agreed to act on your behalf.

Course Specific Question: Your statement of interest (limit of 2,500 characters) should explain why you wish to be considered for the studentship and which qualities and experience you will bring to the role. Please also state how you learned of the studentship.

Supporting Document: Please upload your CV (PDF file), which should include a list of the examinations taken at undergraduate level and if possible, your examination results

Deadline The closing date for applications is 30 November 2021 with interviews expected to take place in the week beginning 17 January 2022.

Please quote reference SW28451 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

Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute

Reference: SW28451

Dates and deadlines:

Friday, 8 October, 2021
Closing Date
Tuesday, 30 November, 2021