Computational systems biology of B-cell lymphoma
Application deadline: 14 February 2020
Applications are invited for a 3-year PhD studentship to join Brighton and Sussex Medical School at the University of Sussex Campus.
The project aims to create simulations of B-cell lymphomas that can be used to perform virtual experiments, reveal the molecular mechanisms leading to lymphoma and find promising new targets for therapy. These models will be explained and be validated by clinical and experimental results from existing literature and international collaborators.
B-cell lymphomas are a commonly occurring cancer occurring when mutations cause a loss of regulation of molecular pathways controlling cell survival, proliferation and differentiation. While lots is known about the mutations that cause B-cell lymphomas finding better therapies to treat these cancers requires improving our understanding of how dysregulation of molecular signalling pathways leads to cancerous cell fates (1).
This studentship will be with Simon Mitchell, who recently established his group using computational systems biology approaches to investigate lymphoma at BSMS. We recently published computational simulations of how cell fates are altered by changes in molecular signalling networks and revealed new interactions and targets to control cell fate that were validated in the lab (2, 3).
These models are systems of differential equations, which are written into computer code, and solved using computational solvers with populations of individual being solved with parallel processing (4, 5). Preliminary data show that if we recreate dysregulation found in B-cell lymphomas we can recreate the cell fate changes that lead to lymphoma. We now want to extend this to work to create simulations of B-cell lymphomas that can be used to perform virtual experiments, reveal the molecular mechanisms leading to lymphoma and find promising new targets for therapy. The goal of this thesis will be to extend our existing models of B-cell fate decisions by combining published models in a variety of formats. Through developing a detailed knowledge of the molecular biology of B-cell lymphoma, the student will recreate in the model the dysregulation found in cancer. The simulations of B-cell lymphoma will be validated using publicly available data or by making predictions that can be tested in the lab. The student will use the models they create to predict effective ways to treat B-cell lymphoma.
We are seeking a highly motivated person to join a growing team of scientists at BSMS investigating blood cancers. The student will gain a wide range of interdisciplinary skills in computational systems biology including building and analysing computational models, writing code that helps answer challenging biological and clinic questions, collaborating with scientists and clinicians across disciplines and a broad academic publishing and presentation skillset. This training will make the student highly competitive for academic or industrial positions applying systems approaches to multiple disciplines.
Find out more and apply here >