Biological pathways supporting the formation and function of chromatin (Scholarship)


Every cell in our body contains the same DNA yet each cell expresses a different set of genes. These changes in gene expression are heavily influenced by histone proteins, their role in packaging DNA into chromatin and the “epigenetic” information they carry. Thus, the supply and deposition of histones on chromatin has a profound effect on cell biology and tissue formation. We are interested to understand how histone supply chains change in different cell types including how they are misregulated in cancer.

Histone supply and deposition is coordinated by a set of proteins called histone chaperones. These proteins collaborate with various cellular machineries to drive histone supply from the cytoplasm to the nucleus and to specific sites in the genome that require packaging into nucleosomes. In this PhD project, you will generate new mechanistic understanding of how histone supply chains integrate with different cellular processes that have yet to be explored. You will characterise these processes with a mixture of cell biology, proteomic assays, microscopy and spatial profiling technologies in cancer cell-lines and patient derived tissue biopsies.

Histone supply is essential for cellular proliferation and key proteins in histone supply chains are often overexpressed/misregulated in cancer. This raises the hope that by studying the organisation of histone supply chains in cancer we will make progress towards targeting these biological pathways as a therapeutic strategy. Ultimately the aim of the Hammond lab is to extend our fundamental understanding of how histone supply chains are organised in cells and to leverage this information to the benefit of cancer patients.

During this PhD project you will work at the interface of fundamental and translational biology. You will be based in the Department of Molecular & Clinical Cancer Medicine in the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Systems, Molecular & Integrative Biology. This stimulating research environment provides excellent access to state-of-the-art technologies in the Liverpool Shared Research Facilities and patient derived tissue samples via the Liverpool University Biobank and fellow Clinician scientists in our department. Thus, we welcome applications from students and graduates that can demonstrate a keen interest in making in fundamental discoveries in histone biology and that have the strong urge to develop skills in translational cancer research.


Candidates should have demonstrated that they have taken initiative to acquire suitable knowledge and/or research experience preparing themselves for a career in biomedical research. The minimum required qualification is a 1st class batchelor’s in Biomedical Science/Life Science/Biochemistry and related subjects or evidence that you are on course to achieve this. We recognise that diversity adds strength to our team and society, the scholarships listed below are available to academically competitive applicants from diverse backgrounds. I encourage applicants that can find a suitable scholarship to get in contact with a full CV and cover letter. 


  • Duncan Norman Research Fellowship deadline is Friday 5 April 2024
  • Douglas Endowment Studentship deadline is 29th March 2024 at 4 pm


Open to students worldwide

Funding information

Self-funded project

Note: this position is unfunded but support will be provided for suitably strong applicants that are eligible to apply for appropriate scholarships covering research costs, tuition fees and stipends.

For example: the Duncan Norman Research Fellowship (for non-University of Liverpool students and non-XJLTU) or the Douglas Endowment Studentship (for University of Liverpool Institute for Systems, Molecular & Integrative Biology MSc/MRes and 4th year MBiol students).

Other Scholarship Opportunities are listed here and for Commonwealth nationalities here.

Details of international tuition fee costs can be found on the University website:



  1. Hammond CM, Strømme CB, Huang H, Patel DJ, Groth A. Histone chaperone networks shaping chromatin function. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2017 Mar;18(3):141-158. doi: 10.1038/nrm.2016.159. Epub 2017 Jan 5. PMID: 28053344; PMCID: PMC5319910.
  2. Hammond CM, Bao H, Hendriks IA, Carraro M, García-Nieto A, Liu Y, Reverón-Gómez N, Spanos C, Chen L, Rappsilber J, Nielsen ML, Patel DJ, Huang H, Groth A. DNAJC9 integrates heat shock molecular chaperones into the histone chaperone network. Mol Cell. 2021 Jun 17;81(12):2533-2548.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2021.03.041. Epub 2021 Apr 14. PMID: 33857403; PMCID: PMC8221569.
  3. Carraro M, Hendriks IA, Hammond CM, Solis-Mezarino V, Völker-Albert M, Elsborg JD, et al. DAXX adds a de novo H3.3K9me3 deposition pathway to the histone chaperone network. Mol Cell. 2023 Apr 6;83(7):1075-1092.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2023.02.009. Epub 2023 Mar 2. PMID: 36868228; PMCID: PMC10114496.