FST18: microRNA detection and its correlations with Wnt-11 signalling in prostate cancer

Wnt-11 is a secreted protein that modulates cell growth, movement and fate during development. We have shown that Wnt-11 is overexpressed in some primary and metastatic prostate tumours. Wnt-11 can promote prostate cancer cell survival in the absence of androgens, increase their migration, and promote expression of neuroendocrine genes (NED), all hallmarks of advanced prostate cancer (PCa) that correlate with poor patient survival. miRNAs are short, non-coding RNAs with length on average 22 nucleotides. Generally, miRNA binding to its target mRNA leads to a reduction of the encoded protein.

This project will be focused on extending current knowledge and expertise to explore further the correlation between Wnt-11 expression and miRNA21/126 expression. Once the hypothesis is tested, we will check whether these miRNAs can be detected in body fluids such as plasma and urine samples from PCa patients and healthy donors. This project will involve the application of state-of-the art molecular biology techniques to investigate the joint effects of microRNA expressions and Wnt signalling. In situ hybridisation, qPCR, NGS (miR sequencing) will be used. The present data combined with locally generated data will complement information obtained from statistical (database searching) techniques.

The student will receive training in relevant techniques/technologies and gain expertise in a number of key project planning and analytical research and subject specific skills. The student will also take part in the University Graduate School and Faculty Doctoral Research Development Programme (DRDP) including transferable skills (eg presentation skills, scientific writing and employability skills) which aid in their future career progression. The student will also be encouraged to join relevant learned societies, which provide excellent support for students in terms of training opportunities and meetings to disseminate and publish their research.

Further enquiries

Please contact Dr Pinar Uysal Onganer, [email protected].


5pm on 10 February 2017

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Applications should be made to the Life Sciences MPhil/PhD programme and you should clearly state that you are applying for a Quintin Hogg Trust Scholarship and the Scholarship code (eg FST1) on your application.

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