PhD thesis positions are available in the groups of Prof. Dr. Suzanne Turner at the Department of Pathology, University Cambridge, UK and Prof. Dr. Lukas Kenner at the Department of Pathology, Medical University of Vienna.
In our labs, we investigate Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a cancer of the T cells of our immune systems that more commonly affects children, particularly when associated with aberrant expression of a chromosomal translocation breakpoint product. Intriguingly, the tumour cells rarely express the T-cell receptor (TCR) on their surface despite having originated from T cells and having molecular rearrangements of TRgenes. We have shown that 50% of ALCL have normal TRab rearrangements suggesting they have the capacity to express a TCR. The remaining 50% have rearrangements of TR genes that would not normally lead to expression of a functional cell surface TCR and suggestive of disruption of normal thymic T cell development. Regardless of the status of the TR genes, as mentioned above, the TCR is rarely expressed on the cell surface, suggesting that its expression might be pejorative to lymphoma development. This thesis will investigate these intriguing observations with a view to unravelling why and how this cancer develops.
The experimental focus of this work will be based on cell culture as well as transgenic mouse studies where stimulatory effects will be blocked or enhanced by genomic engineering (gene knockout and overexpression) and subsequently analyzed by immunoblotting, qRT-PCR, and cell culture assays. Specific effects of TCR stimulation will be studied by RNA sequencing (transcriptomics). Results will be linked to histopathological staining of primary human tumours.
We are looking for a highly motivated and flexible student with a strong interest in laboratory work and experience in cell- and molecular biology bench work. In addition, good communication skills and the ability to work in an interdisciplinary team is a requirement.
Desired Skills and Experience:
• Master’s degree in Biology, Genetics, Molecular Biology, cancer biology, immunology or a related field. Experience of cancer biology and immunology would be of a distinct advantage.
• Standard molecular biology methods (PCR, sequencing, cloning, Western Blot, protein chemistry, CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing)
• Strong background in research including experiments with cells (cell culturing, cell transfections and assays) and animals (mice)
• Lab management and organisation
• Excellent communication skills in English and German
• High motivation to work in an international team
· Ability to travel between Cambridge and Vienna to conduct research (COVID permitting)
The position is available from 15.2.2022 until 14.2.2025. Salary will be based on PhD student rates of the Austrian Science Foundation (FWF).
Application documents (motivation letter, curriculum vitae and 2 letters of reference) should be sent to Suzanne Turner and Lukas Kenner: [email protected], [email protected]