Investigating the epigenetic regulatory protein CBX2 as a novel therapeutic target for advanced cancer


Funded PhD


3 years

Application deadline:

17.00 on Friday 7th May 2021

About this project

Applications are invited for an exciting 3-year fully funded University of Hull studentship in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, to commence in Autumn 2021.

The studentship will be supervised by Dr Mark Wade and Dr Pedro Beltran-Alvarez and aims to investigate the function of the epigenetic regulatory protein CBX2 in advanced and aggressive forms of cancer. The studentship will build on previous work undertaken in Dr Wade’s group to validate CBX2 as a novel therapeutic target. The studentship will benefit from collaborative links with Newcastle University, University of Manchester and University of Leeds.

Epigenetics is a term describing the control of gene expression via chemical modification of DNA and histone proteins. CBX2 is a member of polycomb repressor complex 1 (PRC1), which is a histone modifying protein complex that regulates expression of target genes. CBX2 gene expression is upregulated in metastatic and aggressive sub-types of cancer, including triple-negative breast cancer and castrate-resistant prostate cancer, both of which have poor prognoses, in part, due to a lack of effective personalised and targeted treatments. Despite the known association between CBX2 and cancer the direct regulatory mechanism of CBX2 in aggressive disease is largely unknown. Understanding the function and mechanistic properties of CBX2 is crucial to validate its potential as a therapeutic target for aggressive cancer types with major un-met clinical need.

The studentship will use cutting edge genomic and proteomic techniques to investigate the DNA binding profile and protein-protein interactions of CBX2 bound to chromatin in translationally relevant models of breast and prostate cancer in order to determine its regulatory function. Sophisticated phenotypic assays will also be used to investigate the requirement of CBX2 for growth and survival of aggressive subtypes of cancer.


More Info


Dr Wade is a Lecturer in Genetics in the department of Biomedical Sciences with over 10 years of research experience in the field of cancer genetics, epigenetics and therapeutic target validation. Dr Wade’s research interests are mainly focused on epigenetic mechanisms in cancer, in particular breast and prostate cancer and glioblastoma, and on proteins which regulate the chemical modification of histones to control chromatin structure and gene expression. The ultimate aim of the epigenetic research group is to further understand the biological mechanisms which underpin epigenetic regulation in cancer and identify new epigenetic therapeutic targets to treat cancer.

Dr Beltran-Alvarez is a lecturer in Biomedical Sciences with extensive experience studying protein post-translational modifications in cardiovascular disease and cancer. Dr Beltran-Alvarez leads the Brain Tumour Research Group, which Dr Wade is also a member of, and has expertise in proteomic analysis.

Contact Dr Mark Wade for more information about this project.

The library has an exclusive lounge for postgraduate research students and a dedicated Skills Team to provide a wide range of study and research skills help.

The Doctoral College provides support to postgraduate research students. Offering skills development opportunities and dedicated facilities, the college is here to help you achieve your potential. 


The successful applicant will receive a fee waiver and a maintenance grant / stipend for three years, which covers the research period of the PhD. The fee waiver for 21/22 is £4500 and the maintenance grant is £15609. This rises each year in line with the UKRI’s recommended stipend allowance.


Submission of thesis

Submission of your final thesis is expected within three years and three months from the start of your PhD scholarship.

If you need to move into a fourth year to complete your thesis, please note that you will not receive a tuition fee waiver or maintenance grant during this period.

Entry requirements

We welcome applications for this funded 3-year PhD studentship, to start in September 2021.

You should have a good first degree (at least a 2:1 Honours degree) in a relevant subject. A Masters degree in a relevant area is desirable but not essential.

This scholarship is not open to candidates who have already obtained a PhD.

International applicants

This scholarship opportunity is open to UK-based candidates only.


How to apply


Apply via our online application portal.

Personal Statement: Please provide a personal statement, of no more than 800 words (Arial, minimum font 11 point, margins 2.54cm), outlining: (i) what motivates you to pursue PhD study; (ii) why you are interested in your chosen project; (iii) your research experience, including how your skill set matches the requirements for your choice of project and/or any additional training you will need; and (iv) the wider significance of research in this area and potential future research directions for the project.

Closing date for applications

17.00 on Friday 7th May 2021. Interviews will take place during week commencing 24th May 2021.