Medicine: NC3Rs Fully Funded PhD Scholarship: Developing an in vitro repeat-dose approach to detect non-genotoxic carcinogens

Closing date: 28 February 2018

Key Information

NC3Rs logo

Project supervisors:  Professor Gareth Jenkins and Professor Shareen Doak

Start date: October 2018

Identifying new carcinogenic threats is vital to prevent adverse human exposures. Developing novel and accurate tests for carcinogens in vitro (cell based) will allow reduced reliance on animals in testing. Currently there are no validated in vitro tests to detect non-DNA reactive (non-genotoxic) carcinogens. Consequently, the 2-year rodent carcinogenicity test is the only validated approach to detect non-genotoxic carcinogens (NGC's), which account for about 10-20% of carcinogens tested. The mechanisms behind NGC's carcinogenicity are varied, but often involve inducing genome instability in some way, indeed no cancers form without mass mutation induction. For example NGC's are said to promote proliferation, drive mitogenic signalling, cause DNA methylation abnormalities, abrogate DNA repair and induce oxidative stress, leading "indirectly" to mutational events. Therefore, given their ability to modify aspects of genome stability, we hypothesise that they should be detectable with modified in vitro approaches aimed at identifying DNA damage. This studentship will explore whether repeat dose (chronic) exposure of cells can detect a range of NGCs and crucially, the mechanisms behind this “indirect” DNA damage induction.

This will have a major effect on reducing the numbers of animals used in safety testing in the years to come.


Candidates must have a first, upper second class honours, or Master's degree in a Biological Science/Life Science discipline.

For candidates whose first language is not English, we require IELTS 6.5 (with 6.0 in each component) or equivalent. Please visit our website for a list of acceptable English language tests.

Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is open to UK/EU candidates only. 


The scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus an annual stipend of £14,553 and research costs for 3 years. The scholarship is funded by an NC3Rs grant.

How to Apply

To apply for this scholarship, please download the Medical School PGR Scholarship Application and return it to Professor Gareth Jenkins in the Medical School with the following:

  • Academic References – all scholarship applications require two supporting references to be submitted. Please ensure that your chosen referees are aware of the funding deadline, as their references form a vital part of the evaluation process. Please either include these with your scholarship application or ask your referees to send them directly.
  • Academic Transcripts and Degree Certificates – academic transcripts and degree certificates must be submitted along with the scholarship application by the funding deadline. We will be using these to verify your academic qualifications.
  • CV – please include a recent CV

Applicants should use the ‘Supplementary Personal Statement’ section of the application form to explain why the award they are applying for particularly matches their interests, skills and experience.

Informal enquiries before the deadline for formal applications are welcome by emailing Professor Gareth Jenkins (

Please email the documents to or post them to:

Prof G Jenkins,
Swansea University Medical School
ILS Building
Singleton Park