Exploring prostate cancer hormone resistance to develop novel therapies for the castration resistant prostate cancer

In association with the University of Surrey Doctoral College Dr. Mohammad Asim’s Prostate Cancer Research laboratory is offering a PhD studentship to start from October 2019. This is 3-year, fully-funded post and covers the tuition fee for EU/UK students, offering a tax-free yearly stipend of £15,000.

Start date
1 October 2019
3 years
Application deadline
Funding source
University of Surrey Doctoral College
Funding information

Competition funded project that covers the tuition fee for EU/UK students, offering a tax-free yearly stipend of £15,000.


Prostate cancer is a leading cause of cancer related male mortality in the United Kingdom with over 10,000 deaths each year. The growth and progression of prostate cancer is regulated by androgens, which manifest their action by activating the androgen receptor (AR), a ligand activated transcription factor that in turn regulates the growth of prostate cancer. Since AR signalling is unregulated in prostate cancer, it is an attractive drug target in the treatment of the advanced prostate cancer. Hence, widely used androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is the mainstay treatment for prostate cancer, which is achieved by the use of anti-androgenic drugs such as Bicalutamide and Enzalutamide. ADT is initially effective but relapse is common leading to castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) for which there are no curative treatments. The research will be done in collaboration with the University of Oxford, where Dr Asim holds honorary scientist posts.

The research will involve testing on human cancer tissue specimen available through a collaboration with Professor Hardev Pandha (Royal Surrey County Hospital). 

The key question is why does ADT fail and how does the resistance to ADT emerge? Working alongside the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Oxford, this project will discover novel determinants that promote the development of CRPC. The findings of this study will pave the way to effectively treat CRPC in order to alleviate the disease burden. 

Related links
Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Oxford
  • Anne Y. Warren, Charlie E. Massie, David E. Neal and Mohammad Asim (2018) A reciprocal feedback between the PDZ binding kinase and androgen receptor in prostate cancer. Oncogene 2018 Sep 20. doi: 10.1038/s41388-018-0501-z
  • Asim M, Tarish F, Neal DE and Helleday T (2017) Synthetic Lethality between androgen signaling and PARP pathway in Prostate Cancer. Nat Commun. Aug 29;8(1):374 
  • Asim M, Massie CE & Neal DE (2016) Kinase Joins the Chaperone Club: Androgen-Regulated Kinome Reveals Choline Kinase Alpha as Potential Drug Target in Prostate Cancer. Molecular & Cellular Oncology Feb 24;3(3):e1140262. 
  • Asim M, Massie CE, Tilley WD, & Neal DE. (2015) Choline kinase alpha is an Androgen Receptor Chaperone and Prostate Cancer Therapeutic Target J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015 Dec 11;108(5)

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible, you must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree or international equivalent. The studentship is open to home and EU candidates.

How to apply

1. Speak to a prospective supervisor

Please email m.asim@surrey.ac.uk to discuss the project further and get advice on completing the studentship form before applying through the University’s Doctoral College.

2. Complete the Doctoral College Studentships Award application

In addition to applying for a place on a postgraduate research course, you will also need to complete Doctoral College Studentships Award application form. This is your application for funding and will be used to select successful candidates for funding. Please also refer to the guidance notes which will assist you in filling in the application form. Once you have completed your form, please submit it to phdstudentships@surrey.ac.uk.

Contact details

Mohammad Asim
E-mail: m.asim@surrey.ac.uk

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