We are looking for talented and highly motivated students who wish to study in this area of research. If you think this might be you and would like more information on the lab and the work we do please contact us at k.hiom@dundee.ac.uk. We are currently encouraging applications for the MRC programme but we are also interested to hear from self funded students.

PhD students (we consider funded and self funding Phd students)

How do defects in the repair of DNA damage cause cancer and other diseases?

Failure to maintain genome integrity causes a broad range of human diseases including disorders of the blood and immune systems, neurological diseases, premature aging and cancer. In particular, repair of DNA breaks is essential to prevent impaired gene expression, generation of mutations and catastrophic cell division with the loss of whole chromosomes from cells.

DNA breaks can be caused in a variety of ways including during normal DNA replication, inherited defects in DNA repair genes or through exposure to harmful agents. Conversely, defects in DNA repair can also be exploited in patient therapy such as radiation and chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer and psoralen for treatment of some skin diseases.

It is crucial that we understand the factors involved in preventing and repairing DNA breaks and to understand how defects in these can predispose patients to disease. The identification of disease mutations, such as those that causing inherited breast and ovarian cancer, can be used for screening and diagnosis of patients and for personalisation of treatments.

Our group uses cell and molecular biological techniques to understand how cells repair DNA damage and in particular the factors determining which of several pathways differing in accuracy and efficiency, are used to repair DNA breaks. The competition between these pathways is known to be a crucial factor in the progression to diseases such as cancer.

Using state of the art proteomics and cutting-edge techniques in microscopy along with more standard cellular, genetic and biochemical approaches we are investigating newly identified proteins that play an important role in repair of DNA breaks. The information gleaned will be used to identify patients that are at risk of disease, develop new treatments and evaluate the likely outcome of specific treatments in patients toward the goal of personalized medicine.