skip to content

Graduate Admissions



1st Mike Chapman
2nd James Thaventhiran

Immunotherapy, including chimeric antigen receptor-T cells (CAR-T cells) and checkpoint inhibition, is a powerful new class of cancer treatment. However, it is often beset by severe and life-threatening toxicity. This toxicity is challenging as it is driven by the same mechanisms that target the tumour cells. Understanding the differences between the pathways that mediate cancer cell killing and those that cause toxicity will be crucial to refine these treatments so that they are safer and more effective. This project will study samples from patients undergoing immunotherapy and develop in vitro and computational models to better elucidate the pathways involved. Successful models will be advanced to in vivo testing.

This project represents an ideal opportunity to learn a wide range of state-of-the-art techniques including cellular and molecular biology, genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics to better understand the mechanisms of cancer immunotherapy. Development of successful models would lead to collaborations with industry.

The research will be conducted within the MRC Toxicology Unit which is a core-funded institute within the School of Biological Sciences, University of Cambridge,. This leading international research unit provides state of the art research facilities, with excellent opportunities for collaborative interaction within a vibrant community at the University of Cambridge.

There are a variety of training modules and courses which students are encouraged to attend. In addition, students follow the Toxicology Unit's weekly external and internal seminar programs and are included in the postdoc/student forums which take place each month and offers excellent opportunities for collaboration and career development.

It is recommended that you contact the supervisor prior to making your formal application:

Further information regarding the Chapman lab can be found here:

This studentship is for four years commencing October 2020 with an annual stipend of £15,009 (tax free).

Funding Notes

Candidates must expect to obtain qualifications at the level of a first-class or 2.1 Honours Degree in a biological science or related discipline.

Full funding is available to UK and EU applicants only.

This advert will remain open until 10/02/2020 or until a suitable candidate is found. Please check the Toxicology Unit website for updates:

Applications will need to be made through the University Application Portal and will entail an application fee of £65. Please enter the project title in the 'Proposed title of Research' textbox.

Your online application needs to include:

  • A CV, including full details of all University course grades to date.
  • Contact details for two academic or professional referees.
  • A personal statement outlining your interest in a specific project area, what you hope to achieve from a PhD, and your research experience to date.

If you have any queries regarding the application process please contact Rebecca Heatherley

Please quote reference PU22063 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Key Information

MRC Toxicology Unit

Reference: PU22063

Dates and deadlines:

Friday, 10 January, 2020
Closing Date
Monday, 10 February, 2020