PhD Scholars Programme in Cancer Biology

Welcome to the PhD Scholars Programme

Thank you for visiting the PhD Scholars Programme in Cancer Biology.  Below is a general overview of the Programme.  Using the menu above, you will find more information about the programme, research areas of participating investigators and our PhD students.  Details on how to apply to the Programme can be found under Admissions.  You can also follow the Programme on Facebook.  If you are prospective student considering our Programme in the future, we would like to hear from you!   

~ Dr. Kellie Dean, Training Coordinator, PhD Scholars Programme in Cancer Biology, UCC   

Cancer Biology at UCC

Welcome to the UCC Cancer Biology website. 

UCC has a large, interdisciplinary research cluster in cancer biology that includes investigators from the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science and the College of Medicine and Health.  Information on individual investigators and research programmes are available on this site, as well as details of our Health Research Board-funded, 4-year structured PhD Scholars Programme.  I invite prospective PhD students, postdoctoral candidates, and potential collaborators to explore the research and training that we have available.

~ Rosemary O'Connor, PhD, Professor Cell Biology, Director PhD Scholars Programme in Cancer Biology 

Overview of PhD Scholars Programme in Cancer Biology

The PhD Scholars Programme in Cancer Biology at University College Cork was established in 2008 with funding from the Health Research Board of Ireland.  The overall aim of the PhD Scholars Programme is improve the quality of PhD training in health research by facilitating a broader education for young researchers and enhancing cooperation between post-graduate students in different research groups.   

The scientific programme of the PhD Scholars Programme in Cancer Biology addresses the following areas:

  • Key genes and proteins associated with the genesis and progression of cancer
  • Signalling systems, cell interactions, and tissue remodelling in cancer
  • Novel therapeutic strategies using clinically relevant models of tumour growth and spread 

The projects are grouped into three sub-themes of:

  • cell growth and survival
  • cell migration and invasion
  • immune modulation of tumour growth and therapy

The research programme is underpinned by the considerable track records of the principal investigators in their respective areas and by extensive international collaborations with leading cancer research institutes.

The PhD training programme begins with a structured first year that includes taught elements, general scientific training, and specific training in the biological and clinical aspects of cancer. A major part of the first year for each student will be three, twelve-week laboratory rotations. The students will then choose the project and supervisor with whom they will carry out research for their PhD thesis. Throughout the programme there will be research seminars with international speakers and advanced training workshops. Students will be encouraged and supported to attend conferences, either nationally or internationally, to present their work as they progress through the programme. 

The PhD Scholars Programme in Cancer Biology is directed and managed by a steering committee, composed of four scientists and three clinicians, who collectively have extensive experience in research and PhD training. They, together with a full-time training coordinator, facilitate and monitor the progress of the students through the programme, assemble thesis committees, and provide ongoing mentoring, in conjunction with the student's PhD supervisor. 

The Scholars who graduate from this programme will be equipped with the skills to carry out leading research in cancer biology or in related disciplines.

For more information, please contact Dr. Kellie Dean, Training Coordinator, at

Cancer Biology at UCC