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A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Close date
Friday, 19 February 2021
Academic background
Sciences, Health Sciences
Host campus
Pathology and Biomedical Science (Christchurch)
Associate Professor Logan Walker, Mr George Wiggins


Endometrial cancer is the fifth frequently diagnosed cancer in women, with incidence increasing and diagnosis occurring earlier in age. The causes of endometrial cancer are not fully understood. We have performed genome-wide association studies and discovered that germline copy number variants (CNVs) modify risk of endometrial cancer. The functional impact of CNVs in the human genome varies as a result of the variant size, copy number state, and location relative to genes or key regulatory regions. However, very little is known about the biological effects of CNVs that are associated with endometrial cancer risk. This study will be carried out in collaboration with the international Endometrial Cancer Association Consortium and aims to assess the functional impact of up to three of these newly discovered CNVs using a range of molecular and cellular techniques. Results from this study may help us better understand risk and biological processes associated with inherited predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer.

The research project will utilise cell lines available within the Mackenzie Cancer Research Group and several molecular techniques, including siRNA technology, qPCR/PCR, cell viability and functional assay. This project will validate the CNV breakpoints using Sanger sequencing if samples are available.

Preferred student expertise

Science student with an interest in molecular biology and genetics and who has laboratory experience.

Further information

This is one of a number of projects on offer for the 2021 intake of BBiomedSc(Hons) at the University of Otago, Christchurch campus.

UOC BBiomedSc(Hons) website
Associate Professor Logan Walker's profile
George Wiggin's profile 
Mackenzie Cancer Research Group website 
Department of Pathology and Biomedical Science website


Associate Professor Logan Walker
Tel   03 364 0544