More than 2 million cases of cancer have been attributed to infectious causes worldwide [Plummer et al. 2016]. Significant advances have recently been made in the understanding of the associations between both viral infection and microbiota with different types of cancer [Nejman et al. 2020] including work published from our group [Zapatka et al. 2020]. The Cancer Genetics team at UEA are experts in this area, isolating bacterial strains from clinical samples from men with prostate cancer, and developing bioinformatics pipelines to detect bacteria in clinical cancer samples [Gihawi et al. 2019]. In particular, we are searching for specific bacterial genera and species that are associated with aggressive prostate cancer. The analyses of whole genome sequencing data from the bacteria isolated from urine and prostate has provided preliminary evidence of several potential mechanisms of action of the bacteria potentially relevant to cancer research.
In this PhD project you will be trained in molecular and cellular biology, microbiology, biochemistry and both bacteria and human genomics to investigate the effects of pathogenic bacteria in human cell and tissue prostate cancer models to probe for specific mechanisms of action of the bacteria. Training and supervision will be provided by a dedicated cancer research interdisciplinary team in Norwich Medical School, the Cancer Genetics team Principal Investigators Professors Colin Cooper and Daniel Brewer have more than 30 years of research on many types of cancer including prostate cancer. Also, there are options to train and collaborate across the Norwich Research Park, we have existing collaborations with research teams in both microbiology (Microbes in Norwich and cancer research).