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The role of NF-kB in tumour-associated dendritic cells, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
University rank #531 (QS) Coventry, United Kingdom
Coventry University (CU) is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship in The role of NF-kB in tumour-associated dendritic cells.
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This doctoral (PhD) project in The role of NF-kB in tumour-associated dendritic cells in the exciting area of cancer immunotherapy and drug discovery has been devised and developed by a leading early-career researcher at Coventry University. 

The Trailblazer Scheme provides doctoral researchers with an innovative and dynamic intellectual space in which to undertake transformative research, whilst fully supported by a team of experienced supervisors.

Despite clinical successes obtained with cancer immunotherapy, challenges remain as the majority of cancer patients rarely exhibit an objective response to these therapies. 

In part this is due to immunosuppressive mechanisms in innate immune cells residing in the tumour microenvironment (TME) that enable tumours to evade immune attack. 

A logical approach to extend the benefit of immunotherapies to the broader cancer patient population would be to “boost” innate immune cell activation in the TME by identifying and blocking immunoinhibitory “brake” mechanisms. 

Recently, a macrophage-specific immune “checkpoint” mediated by the NF-κB-regulated protein, Gadd45β, was discovered. GADD45β functions as a non-enzymatic modulator that restrains pro-inflammatory signalling in tumour-associated macrophages, thereby blocking TME-based inflammation and subsequent cytotoxic T-cell recruitment into the tumour. 

This project will test the hypothesis that Gadd45β’s immunosuppressive function extends to dendritic cells (DCs). DCs are antigen-presenting cells and play a central role in anti-tumour immunity by priming T cells to attack cancer cells. The immunosuppressive role of Gadd45β will be investigated in DCs in vitro and these findings will provide further of proof that by boosting the innate immune system, Gadd45β-targeting agents could represent the key to unlocking the full potential of immune checkpoint inhibitors currently in the clinic.

Training and Development

The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities. All techniques and equipment necessary for the successful completion of this project have been mastered in the proposing lab. 

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 36 months
    • Duration description

      between three and three and a half years fixed term

  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

  • The student selected for this project will develop invaluable skill sets in experimental genetics (RNAi, CRISPR-Cas9 technology), cell biology, organisational and time management while also making a significant contribution to the development of a new innate immunotherapy drug. 
  • This combined skill set will make the candidate a highly desirable recruitment prospect for future academic and industrial employers.      


  • Dr Jason Bennett
  • Professor Guido Franzoso 

English Language Requirements

You need the following IELTS score:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Get a free IELTS practice test

Academic Requirements

You need the following GPA score:

Required score: Upper Second Class

Applicants for graduate programs must have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA equivalent to Upper Second Class on the UK Honour scale. Admitted applicants typically have an undergraduate GPA of or better on the UK Honour scale. No exam grade should be lower than 4.5 (European grade scale) or D (American grade scale).

Your GPA (Grade Point Average) is calculated using the grades that you received in each course, and is determined by the points assigned to each grade (e.g. for the US grading scale from A-F).

General Requirements

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average. 
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years

Tuition Fee

Living costs for Coventry

  • 656 - 1060 GBP/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Fully funded PhD studentship, which includes tuition fees for 3.5 years.Costs associated with bench fees, consumables, publications and conferences are covered by the CSELS. 

Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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