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Cambridge success for Cancer Pharmacology students at Bradford

3 December 09


Students on the MSc Cancer Pharmacology course at the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics are finding success in winning places at world renowned University of Cambridge.

Qashif Ahmed, from Milton Keynes, graduated this week, after completing his MSc in Cancer Pharmacology at the internationally acclaimed ICT.  He has now been offered a PhD position at the Babraham Institute at the University of Cambridge.  He will be working on a project that involves understanding the mechanisms controlling a cellular process called autophagy.

Autophagy occurs when cells are placed under stressful conditions such as starvation and it is a biological process that allows cells to survive until nutrients become available again. In cancer, autophagy plays a central role in the survival of cells that grow in areas that don't have a good blood supply.  Understanding how autophagy is regulated will lead to the identification of new targets for drug development.

Qashif's project supervisor informed him that The Babraham Institute were looking for a student to fill a PhD position. The area of the research, autophagy, was one that he had covered for his critical appraisal as part of the MSc course. He contacted the project leader and was invited for an interview.  He was successfully offered the position a few days later.

Speaking about his success, Qashif said: "The MSc in Cancer Pharmacology opened my eyes to the role that research plays in terms of drug discovery. This inspired me to look for PhD positions in a cancer or cancer related field."

"For me, this is an amazing opportunity as I had never dreamed of being a student at the University of Cambridge. The experience of this MSc course and the guidance offered by the staff was invaluable in securing the PhD position."

Qashif  will join the growing list of students to move onto acclaimed PhD positions.  Last year, Patience Musiwaro also obtained a PhD position at Cambridge after graduating from the same course.  Katerina Prokopiou who also graduated in 2008, is now in a PhD position at Trinity College, Dublin.

Reader in Cancer Pharmacology and Course Tutor for MSc Cancer Pharmacology, Dr Roger Phillips, said: "I am delighted that graduates from this new course are entering PhD programmes at some of the best universities in the world. One of the aims of this course was to develop the next generation of Cancer Pharmacologists that will make significant contributions towards the development of new anti-cancer drugs. Success stories such as Qashif, Patience and Katerina, together with the support we receive from the Medical Research Council and pharmaceutical industry, suggest that we are on our way to achieving this objective."

3 December 09

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