This is one of several projects available on an MRC funded 4-year multi-disciplinary PhD programme in Human Genetics, Genomics and Disease at the MRC Human Genetics Unit (HGU), part of the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM) at the University of Edinburgh.
A striking discovery in the past decade is that somatic and cancer stem cells express high levels of ALDH activity. In particular, ALDH1 enzymes mark a discrete subpopulation of cells in melanoma and other cancers that are enriched for tumor initiation potential, and following cancer therapy. This PhD project will use single cell technologies and state-of-the-art live imaging in the zebrafish system to understand the genes that regulate ALDH(High) cells, and to follow the fate of these cells during melanoma initiation, progression and recurrence following therapy. Ultimately, we aim to target these cell types as a novel therapeutic approach in melanoma.