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PhD Studentship: Impact of Cell & Gene Therapy on the Function and Molecular Regulation of Haematopoietic Stem Cells

Posted by , on 21 December 2016

Closing Date: 15 March 2021

Applications are invited for a 4-year Medical Research Council Industry CASE PhD studentship, which will be jointly supervised by Dr. Laurenti at the University of Cambridge and Dr. Francis at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), to commence in October 2017.

The Laurenti laboratory combines state-of-the-art experimental and computational methods to study the unique biological and molecular properties of human haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). GSK is a world leading research-based pharmaceutical company. In May 2015, the first autologous ex vivo gene therapy product, developed by the Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) platform, was recently approved by the European Medicines Agency. CGT supports numerous cell and gene therapy projects from early phase to commerical launch, and the development of innovative technologies to enable improvements to cell and gene therapy manufacture.

The principal research aim of this project is to determine to what extent the gene therapy protocol affects the biology of HSCs. The project will combine single cell transcriptomics, lentiviral transduction technology, flow cytometry and single cell functional assays in vitro and in vivo. Adult HSCs and progenitor cells will be subjected to the gene therapy protocol and changes in their fate choices and transcriptome will be determined by single cell functional assays and single cell RNA-seq. This information will provide insights into how changes in the molecular circuitry of HSC alter their function under stress conditions, and will be used to guide process improvements to increase HSC functionality after transduction.

The primary research will be carried out mostly in Dr Laurenti’s laboratory but the student will spend a minimum of 6 months at GSK during the time of the fellowship.

We encourage applications from students with mathematical and/or bioinformatics skills.


How to Apply

  1. Complete our departmental Application Form*, which will include providing the details of two referees
  2. Submit your application documents which should include your Application Form, CV, and your Degree transcripts, in pdf format to:
  3. Please ask your referees to submit references directly to the SCI Graduate Administrator by the application deadline:, using “MRC iCASE 4-Year PhD studentship (Laurenti)” in the subject header.  It is your responsibility for ensuring that both references are received by the closing date.

Application Deadline: Tuesday 14th February 2017 and shortlisted candidates will be interviewed between 27th-28th February 2017.

Informal Academic Enquiries to
: Dr Elisa Laurenti
Application Process Enquiries to: 
Graduate Administrator

For further details about our group and the institute, please visit:

*Please note that for this project you DO NOT APPLY DIRECTLY TO THE MRC, but apply through the process above here at the Stem Cell Institute*.

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