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This is an exciting opportunity for a highly motivated graduates to join a new DPhil research programme in Oxford, the NIHR-funded Blood & Transplant Research Unit (BTRU) in Precision Cellular Therapeutics.

ABOUT THE research

Successful applicants will work closely with Prof. Ronjon Chakraverty, Assoc. Prof. James Davies and Assoc. Prof. Adam Wilkinson to carry out research in the arena of advanced cellular therapeutics. Our research program is generating new methods to identify and manipulate molecular targets in haematopoietic stem and T cells for testing in first-in-human trials.  Examples of our new cell technology platforms include:

  • Clinical scale ex vivo expansion of haematopoietic stem cell and progenitors
  • High-resolution tools to predict and define the molecular repercussions of gene manipulation
  • Multi-modal analytical pipelines for discovery of antigen receptors that recognize cancer
  • Selection and expansion of T cell sub-populations with best potential for therapeutic efficacy

A further opportunity funded by BTRU is also available in the Nuffield Department Of Medicine (NDM). If you apply for the project in NDM you will need to make a separate application to their DPhil in Clinical Medicine using the appropriate course code.


Training Opportunities

DPhil students in the program will develop skills in gene manipulation (gene transfer and editing), next generation sequencing and analysis, multiparameter cytomics, and functional assays.  A key aim will be to devise quantitative assays with the potential for use as biological endpoints in clinical trials.



Students will be enrolled on the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine DPhil Course, which takes place in the autumn of their first year. Running over several days, this course helps students to develop basic research and presentation skills, as well as introducing them to a wide range of scientific techniques and principles, ensuring that students have the opportunity to build a broad-based understanding of differing research methodologies.

Generic skills training is offered through the Medical Sciences Division's Skills Training Programme. This programme offers a comprehensive range of courses covering many important areas of researcher development: knowledge and intellectual abilities, personal effectiveness, research governance and organisation, and engagement, influence, and impact. Students are actively encouraged to take advantage of the training opportunities available to them.

As well as the specific training detailed above, students will have access to a wide range of seminars and training opportunities through the many research institutes and centres based in Oxford.

The Department has a successful mentoring scheme, open to graduate students, which provides an additional possible channel for personal and professional development outside the regular supervisory framework. We hold an Athena SWAN Silver Award in recognition of our efforts to build a happy and rewarding environment where all staff and students are supported to achieve their full potential.




Defining genome architecture at base-pair resolution.

Hua P, Badat M, Hanssen LLP, Hentges LD, Crump N, Downes DJ, Jeziorska DM, Oudelaar AM, Schwessinger R, Taylor S, Milne TA, Hughes JR, Higgs DR, Davies JOJ.Nature. 2021 Jul;595(7865):125-129.



Long-term ex vivo haematopoietic-stem-cell expansion allows nonconditioned transplantation.

Wilkinson AC, Ishida R, Kikuchi M, Sudo K, Morita M, Crisostomo RV, Yamamoto R, Loh KM, Nakamura Y, Watanabe M, Nakauchi H, Yamazaki S.Nature. 2019 Jul;571(7763):117-121. 



Graft Versus Leukemia: Current Status and Future Perspectives.

O'Neill AT, Chakraverty R.J Clin Oncol. 2021 Feb 10;39(5):361-372.