PhD Positions

We are now recruiting for a PhD student to be based in our group at CRUK Cambridge Institute.  For further information and how to apply, see the advert below:

PhD Studentship - Epigenetic Features of the Genome

CRUK - Cambridge Institute

The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute (CRUK CI) is a joint venture between the Charity, Cancer Research UK, and the University of Cambridge. 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 and gaining a studentship in the Institute is an excellent opportunity to start a research career in an environment committed to training outstanding cancer research scientists of the future. For further information, go to:

Professor Sir Shankar Balasubramanian, Head of the research group studying the Chemical Biology of Nucleic Acids, wishes to appoint a student to work on the project entitled: Epigenetic Features of the Genome.

Project details:

The lab exploits both chemistry and biology to address fundamental mechanisms of genome function ( While many genetic determinants of cancer are known, alternative nucleic acid secondary structures and chemically modified DNA (or RNA) bases can be epigenetic features of nucleic acids that are important to normal biology and in oncogenesis. The project will explore chemical modifications as epigenetic features and how these influence secondary structure formation and function in the genome of normal and cancer cells. The scope of the project may include exploring the formation and dynamics of G-quadruplex structures and modified DNA bases in the genome and their roles in gene expression, DNA replication and genome stability. We have developed methods to show that G-quadruplexes are enriched in cancer-related genes and have a profound impact on transcription (e.g. Nature Genetics, 2016, 48, 1267-1272; Nature Biotechnology, 2015, 33, 877-881). We have also developed genome-wide mapping and sequencing of modified bases and are now exploring further base modifications (e.g. Genome Biology, 2017, 18:23; Nature Chemical Biology, 2015, 11, 555-557).

Preferred skills/knowledge

The student will be highly motivated, capable of independent thought and have excellent communication skills with the ability to work collaboratively. Ideally, the candidate will have a strong background in molecular biology and/or biochemistry. Knowledge of the chemistry and biology of nucleic acids would be beneficial.


This project is funded by a Cancer Research UK studentship that includes full funding for University and College fees and a stipend of £19,000 per annum.


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.

How to apply

To apply for this vacancy, please email a cover letter, CV, detailed academic transcripts and the contact details for at least two academic referees to: Jo Lockhart, PA to Professor Balasubramanian, (email:, including 'PhD - CI ' in the subject line. Your cover letter should explain why you wish to be considered for the studentship and describe the qualities and experience you will bring to the role. Please also state how you learned of the studentship.

For queries regarding the post, please contact Jo Lockhart at

The closing date for applications is Thursday 27th February 2020.  Previous applicants need not apply.

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.