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Graduate Admissions



1st Ritwick Sawarkar


We have recently observed that proteotoxicity in human cells causes biomolecular condensation of critical transcriptional regulators leading to global transcriptional changes. We do not understand the mechanisms underlying the formation of these nuclear condensates or their function in response to toxic injury. The project combines molecular cell biology with biochemistry as well as functional genomics to identify cellular factors that link toxic injury to nuclear condensates.

As a PhD student, you will be trained in identifying a good research question and appropriate approaches. Practical training will include molecular cell biology of human cell culture, microscopy, genome-wide CRISPR screening, bioinformatic analyses and chromatin profiling. Many of the experiments will be done in close collaboration with colleagues in MRC, Cambridge as well as industries where appropriate.

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.

Students are encouraged to attend a variety of training modules and courses, available within Cambridge University. In addition, the Toxicology Unit's weekly external and internal seminar programs, students will be expected to attend the Cambridge Immunology Network seminar series and are included in the postdoc/student forums which take place each month. Together this package offers excellent opportunities for collaboration and career development.

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

For information regarding the Sawarkar lab please visit:

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 at

Please quote reference PU22064 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: PU22064

Dates and deadlines:

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