The role and mechanisms of RNA regulators in B-cell lymphoma

Application deadline: 15 September 2023

Start date: 2 January 2024

This Barts Charity-funded project will commence in January 2024 and has funding for 4 years. The successful candidate will be based at Barts Cancer Institute, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry (FMD), Charterhouse Square in the City of London.

Primary Supervisor: Dr Diu Nguyen

Centre for Haemato-Oncology

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, of which majority arise from B cells transiting the germinal centre (GC) reaction, ranks between the 5th to 9th most common cancer in most countries worldwide. GC is a structure in which B lymphoid cells mature into plasma or memory B cells to build our immunological memory for future antigen recalls. GC-derived lymphoma are aggressive and rapidly progressing diseases with some form almost never cured. Standard treatment includes combination of anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody with chemotherapy. Approximately 30%-40% of patients either relapse or are refractory to this treatment and die of their disease. This highlights the unmet clinical needs for novel targeted therapies in B-cell lymphoma. While somatic alterations in genetic and epigenetic mechanisms regulating transcription in tumorigenesis have been extensively studied, the role of post-transcriptional regulation (PTR) of gene expression in cancer development has only emerged recently (Mlynarczyk et al. Science. 2023). The key players in PTR processes are RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). This study aims to identify the functional requirement and molecular mechanism of newly identified RBPs in B-cell lymphoma. To achieve these goals, we will employ multidisciplinary approaches integrating hematopoietic assays, RNA-editing based technologies (Nguyen et al. Nat. Comms. 2020; Cheng et al. Cancer Cell 2021), proteomics and molecular biology in lymphoma cell lines, mouse genetic models and patient primary cells and -derived xenografts.

We aim to build a strong team of curious and highly motivated scientists who are driven to study RNA biology in normal development and cancer and to identify new therapeutic opportunities. We support and help our team members to achieve their career goals and personal development.

Academic Entry Requirements

All applicants should have or be expecting:

  • A first or upper second class honours degree in a relevant biological subject from a UK university or the international equivalent from a recognised institution. For international equivalencies please see Queen Mary International Office. Or;
  • A medical degree from a recognised institution.

Applicants should have a background in cancer biology, molecular biology or relevant subjects.

English Language Requirements

Applicants for whom English is not a first language will also require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (with 6.0 in the written component) or equivalent, unless your undergraduate degree was studied in, and awarded by, an English speaking country. For more information on acceptable English language qualifications please see here.

Fee Status

The funding for this studentship only covers tuition fees at the Home rate. Only students who are eligible to UK Home rate tuition fee status are eligible to apply.

The studentship includes the following funding for 4 years:

  • A tax-free annual stipend (Year 1: £24,278, Year 2: £26,093, Year 3: £28,057, Year 4: £28,057)
  • Tuition fees at the Home rate*
  • Project consumables

To apply you will need to complete an online application form. Please select the 'Non-Clinical PhD' option.

The following supporting documents will be required as part of your application:

  • Your CV
  • Statement of purpose
  • Details of 2 referees
  • Copy of your transcript(s), including a breakdown of marks
  • Copy of your passport
  • If applicable, proof of English proficiency

If you have a question about the project, or would like to arrange an informal discussion, please contact the supervisor directly (subject ‘PhD applicant’). For general enquiries about the PhD studentship or application process please contact

Successfully shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview at Barts Cancer Institute.