University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


PhD Studentship - Investigating the metabolic heterogeneity in cancer - Dr Christian Frezza/Dr Alessandro Esposito

The Medical Research Council Cancer Unit at the University of Cambridge is a leading centre for cancer research in the UK. Our aim is to undertake research that advances our understanding of the earliest steps in the emergence of cancer, and to use this knowledge for early diagnosis, risk stratification and clinical intervention, through the development of innovative enabling technologies. The Unit is based within the Hutchison/MRC Research Centre on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, and possesses excellent research facilities, strong collaborations with clinicians and colleagues in other disciplines, and a vibrant and supportive working environment.

We have a number of PhD opportunities for entry in October, 2018 (see related advertisements). The following fully funded studentship is available to eligible candidates (see Eligibility and Funding section for details).

Investigating the metabolic heterogeneity in cancer - Dr Christian Frezza and Dr Alessandro Esposito

Dysregulated metabolism is an established hallmark of cancer. The metabolic determinants of transformation have been extensively investigated, revealing common metabolic features of cancer, including activation of glycolysis and nucleotide biosynthesis. However, whether these features are shared by distinct clones within a solid tumour, or if metabolic heterogeneity exists is still matter of debate. One of the major hurdles to investigate this aspect of cancer metabolism is the lack of appropriate tools to investigate cellular metabolism at a single-cell level. With this PhD project, we want to establish a new experimental platform using state-of-the-art quantitative microscopy techniques and metabolomics to determine the spatio-temporal features of the metabolic reprogramming of cancer. Previous experience in cancer biology, cell metabolism, molecular biology, and microscopy are distinct advantages. This project will be carried out in the context of an exciting multidisciplinary collaboration between the Frezza lab and Dr Alessandro Esposito.

More information about the research undertaken in the Frezza lab and by Alessandro Esposito can be found here: and

Eligibility and Funding: We welcome applications from those holding, or expecting to obtain at least an upper second class degree (or equivalent) in a relevant scientific subject. These studentships are funded by the Medical Research Council and are open to UK and EU applicants only. Other international students are not eligible to apply. UK applicants will be eligible to receive full funding of University and College fees and a stipend of £18,000 p.a. EU applicants will be funded on a fees-only basis, unless they meet the MRC's eligibility criteria (visit the MRC website for further details: Successful applicants will be registered with the University of Cambridge.

How to apply: All applications will need to be made through the University Application Portal and will entail an application fee of £50. Please visit: for further information about the programme and to access the Applicant Portal.

You are allowed to apply for more than one project as part of the same online application. Whilst making your application please make it clear which project area(s) and principal investigator(s) you are interested in working with. Your online application will need to include:

  • A CV, including full details of all University course grades to date.

  • Contact details for two academic or professional referees.

  • A personal statement outlining your interest in a specific project area, what you hope to achieve from a PhD, and your research experience to date.

The above information must be provided under relevant sections on the application portal.

Further notes on completing the 'Research' section on the application portal

  • In the 'Research Title' textbox, if you are applying for one project only, insert the project title. If you wish to apply for more than one project, insert 'Cancer Research'.

  • If you are applying for more than one project, in the 'Research Summary' textbox, please insert the project titles you wish to apply for.

  • In the 'Research Supervisor' textbox, please insert the initials of the Supervisor(s) you wish to consider your application.

  • Please also describe your research experience in the appropriate textbox.

The closing date for applications is 30th November 2017, with interviews expected to take place in December.

Please contact with any other enquiries concerning studentships or eligibility criteria.