Identification and characterization of microRNAs in the development of chemoresistant acute myeloid leukemia

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Drug resistance in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a major hurdle for successful therapy.

MicroRNA (miRNA) are small RNA with critical roles in most cellular processes that can promote diverse diseases when disrupted. Aberrant miRNA expression has been implicated in the development and maintenance of AML, however little is known about the specific role and clinical utility for miRNA in AML chemoresistance.

Collectively, the Salmena and Kats labs have developed advanced cellular and molecular tools, novel bioinformatic approaches and have access to mouse models of leukemia and human samples that will allow the identification and validation of miRNA that are critical for chemoresistance.

The efforts outlined in this project represent fundamental work required to identify novel microRNA-associated therapeutic strategies to improve treatments for AML.

Project goals

The goal of this project is to:

  1. Characterize miRNAs that drive and maintain chemoresistant AML as novel actionable targets in AML therapies using multi-omic analysis of patient samples, functional genomics and mouse models.

Supervision team

The University of Melbourne: Dr Lev Kats

*Click on the researcher’s name above to learn more about their publication and grant successes

The University of Toronto: Associate Professor Leonardo Salmena

Who we are looking for

We are seeking a PhD candidate with the following skills:

  • Demonstrated experience in the field of biomedical/health sciences.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Demonstrated time and project management skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to write research reports or other publications to a publishable standard (even if not published to date).
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrated organisational skills, time management and ability to work to priorities.
  • Demonstrated problem solving abilities.
  • The ability to work independently and as a member of a team

Further details

The PhD candidate will benefit from the combined expertise of the project supervisors, and the embedding into two research environments.

Dr Lev Kats at the University of Melbourne will contribute their expertise in mouse models and anlaysis of drug resistance mechanisms. Associate Professor Leonardo Salmena at the University of Toronto will contribute expertise in miRNA biology and functional genomics.

This PhD project will be based at the University of Toronto with a minimum 12-month stay at the University of Melbourne.

The candidate will be enrolled in the PhD program at the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology at the University of Toronto, and in the PhD program at the Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology at the University of Melbourne.

To apply for this joint PhD opportunity, and to view the entry requirements, visit How to apply.

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