Targeting DNA replication and repair in human cancer cells

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

Supervisor - Dr Mathew

DNA replication is the fundamental mechanism of genetic inheritance and an essential process for all cellular life. In cancer cells, replication is corrupted and replication forks frequently stall and collapse causing DNA damage and copying errors that drive tumorigenesis. As a result, cancer cells are heavily dependent on the pathways that protect and repair stalled replication forks. Disrupting these mechanisms can be selectively toxic to cancer cells. A key player in the regulation of DNA replication and repair is DDK (Dbf4-dependent kinase also known as Cdc7). DDK is frequently overexpressed in cancer, but its role during DNA replication and the repair of stalled replication forks has not been well characterised. Our research uses chemical genetic approaches to selectively target DDK and gain valuable insights into its requirements and molecular targets. This project aims to understand how DDK coordinates DNA replication and repair to help develop new therapeutic strategies to target these processes in cancer cells. This project is suitable for a PhD student and provides an excellent opportunity to learn molecular and cell biology techniques and gain experience with long-read genome sequencing tools and genome engineering methods (CRISPR/Cas9).

Preferred educational background

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of molecular biology would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of genetics and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of cell cycle and DNA repair is highly desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

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