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Research Development Fund PhD Scholarship - Cancer Therapeutics

No longer applicable

This scholarship is no longer available due to the deadline date passing or it was for a previous academic year.

The scholarship may be available in future academic years, but please note this may not always be the case.

This page remains online for information purposes only.

  • Study level: Postgraduate Research
  • Academic entry year: 2019/20
  • Apply by 14-Jul-2019
  • Attendance of study: full-time
  • Available to: current students, prospective students
  • This scholarship or bursary is only available to one successful applicant.
  • Apply by 14-Jul-2019

The integrins are a family of proteins found on the surface of cells which mediate communications with other cells and the surrounding environment. Changes in integrin expression are common in tumours since they control a number of processes involved in tumour growth, spread via the bloodstream, and interaction with bone. Therefore blocking integrin binding or signalling is likely to block tumour growth and spread through the body – providing a new and effective treatment of advanced cancers. However, no drugs targeting integrins have succeeded in the clinic – those developed so far can both deactivate and activate integrins which renders them ineffective as treatments.

Recently, it was discovered that part of a protein structure called the iso-DGR sequence, which binds to a specific part of the integrin, deactivates integrin functioning in a much more effective way than previously developed drugs. We have identified a small molecule structure which, when added to cells, reveals a new functional group and binds to the integrin in the same way as iso-DGR. This is potentially suitable for development into a new anticancer treatment.

This project aims to explore the molecule, demonstrating that it is able to deactivate integrin function in cancer cells. It will provide training in a broad range of skills and understanding of the drug discovery process, and is suitable for a student with a first degree in Chemistry and an interest in cancer research and/or drug discovery.

Anticipated start date:

1 October 2019

Applicable courses

PhD project: Development of succinimide-based prodrugs of the NGR to iso-DGR transformation; new small molecule antimetastatic and immunotherapeutic agents


A good honours UK Bachelor's degree (a first or upper second class honours) or equivalent qualifications in Chemistry.

Applicants whose first language is not English must meet the University English language requirements for PhD candidates.

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus (European Union)
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • England
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • French Guiana
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland, the Republic of
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Martinique
  • Mayotte (French Territorial Collectivity)
  • Netherlands
  • Northern Ireland
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Scotland
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Wales

Payment amount & frequency

This is a University fully funded studentship covering stipend and UK/EU fees.

How to apply

Potential candidates should apply directly online through the online application portal.

Further information about this scholarship

For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Helen Sheldrake,