PhD studentship Volatile organic compounds as potential biomarkers of malignant melanoma

PhD studentship to start in January 2014 (or earlier if possible)

Faculty of Science

Based in Milton Keynes 

We already have three new PhD students starting in the Department in October 2013 and have now secured funding for another four studentships. 

The three-year research studentships provide a maintenance grant of £13,726 per year (2013 rate) and all academic fees are covered. 

The department has a thriving postgraduate community and the postgraduate training programme provides a full range of courses covering: research techniques, scientific methods, information technology, communication and interpersonal skills, which are tailored to the needs of each student.

Project Title: Volatile Organic Compounds as Potential Biomarkers of Malignant Melanoma
Project Supervisors: Claire Turner, Maria Velasco (Open University) and Carolyn Willis (Amersham Hospital)

We seek an energetic PhD student with research interests at the interface between analytical chemistry and biomedicine to undertake work on this project to investigate the use of volatile organic compounds as potential markers of malignant melanoma. This project encompasses using mass spectrometry (with and without gas chromatography) to determine the volatile profile of compounds emanating from skin tumours (malignant melanoma). It has been shown that dogs are able to distinguish between cancer and non-cancerous lesions, and the assumption is that this is down to the compounds emitted by the tumour. This project will also involve assessing the use of cancer-detecting dogs and how they use odour to detect melanoma.

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Eligible applicants for this PhD studentship must have a good degree in analytical chemistry, bioinformatics, biomedical sciences or a related area and must be willing to work under supervision in a clinical environment. Knowledge of mass spectrometry and multivariate statistics is desirable. A Master’s degree in a relevant subject would be an advantage, but is not essential. The successful candidate must show skills in problem solving and applying knowledge to new situations and must be willing to undertake some travel within the UK.

For informal enquiries about this project, please contact Dr Claire Turner, Department of Life, Health and Chemical Sciences at The Open University by email on

Please send an email/letter stating the project you are interested in, your CV and a completed application form, to be found here: to the following mailbox: by Friday, October 18th or by post to the Research Co-ordinator, Science Deanery, K Block, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA.

Shortlisting will take place during the week of October 21st with the interviews following during the week of November 4th.

Closing Date: October 18th, 2013

To apply, please click the Apply button below.

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