PhD studentship Influence of early environmental exposures on epigenetic markers of leukaemia in infants

Reference Code: HS018
Closing Date: 8th April 2013


Dr Jill McKay, Institute of Health and society (IHS)

Professor Judith Rankin, Institute of Health and society (IHS)

Professor Caroline Relton, Institute of Genetic Medicine (IGM) & University of Bristol

Dr Gordon Strathdee, Northern Institute for Cancer Research (NICR)  

Institute of Health & Society/Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University

Duration of the award
3 years (PhD) from 1 October 2013

Project description
Leukaemia is the most common childhood cancer, however relatively little is known about how it is caused. Epidemiological evidence suggests some environmental factors may be associated with increased childhood leukaemia risk. Epigenetic marks may be one mechanism by which environmental factors may influence leukaemia risk. We aim to further understand the causes of childhood leukaemia by investigating a plausible biological mechanism (DNA methylation) by which early environmental influences may increase an individual’s likelihood of developing childhood leukaemia. 

The project will provide multidisciplinary training including the application of epidemiological approaches, molecular biology techniques (e.g. DNA handling, bisulfite modification of DNA, PCR and pyrosequencing), assay design and development, experimental design and bioinformatics. The student will be based in NICR laboratories, in which well-established cancer research groups are situated. He/she will have excellent opportunities to interact with and obtain advice from experienced laboratory members as well as members of other large research groups in Newcastle University (Epigenetic Research Group, Causes and Patterns of Disease (CaPOD), Human Nutrition Research Centre). The studentship will have links with IHS, IGM and NICR, through which mentorship across disciplines will be provided.

Also Read  Engineering Doctorate Studentship Novel, non-intrusive microwave sensors

Value of award and eligibility
This is a 3-year full-time studentship. A full award covers tuition fees at UK/EU rate and an annual stipend of approximately £13,590.

Person specification
You should have a first-class or upper-second-class Honours degree in a relevant subject. A Master’s-level qualification in a relevant discipline is essential and related research experience desirable.

How to apply
You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application form inserting the reference number HS018 and selecting ‘Master of Research/Doctor of Philosophy (Medical Sciences)’ as the programme of study. Only mandatory fields need to be completed (no personal statement required) and a covering letter, CV and (if English is not your first language) a copy of your English language qualifications must be attached. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the reference number HS018 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project.

You should also send your covering letter and CV to Jill McKay, Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, 5th Floor Sir James Spence Institute, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4LP, or by e-mail to

Further information
For further details, please contact:
Dr Jill McKay
Professor Judith Rankin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *