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Bioengineering cancer niches to develop stem cell therapies

   College of Medicine, Veterinary and Life Sciences

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  Prof M Dalby, Prof M Salmeron-Sanchez  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Glasgow United Kingdom Cell Biology

About the Project


Prof Matthew Dalby

Prof Manuel Salmeron-Sanchez

Dr Massimo Vassalli

Dr Rónán Daly

Partner details: Cell Guidance Systems

PhD project summary:

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have growing interest as a cell therapy because they can suppress the immune system, reduce inflammation and can aid regeneration through differentiation and rebuilding damaged tissues. MSCs reside in the bone marrow, along with blood forming haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and the MSCs help regulate the HSC environment so that HSCs can function correctly. During leukaemia, cancer stem cells cause changes in the MSC population in terms of their viability, growth and phenotype and this effects the extracellular environment. These changes in environment can lead to poor engraftment of HSCs delivered in bone marrow transplants. This project will consider how cancer stem cells alter MSC behaviour by bioengineering 3D in vitro micro-marrows where MSCs and cancer stem cells can interact. Further, we will look at enhancing the MSC phenotype in vitro to work towards potential cell therapies where MSCs could be co-delivered with the bone marrow transplant to help increase engraftment and hence enhance patient recovery. This interdisciplinary project will involve use of advanced microscopies, flow cytometry, metabolomics, RNA seq, bioinformatics, biomaterials development and characterisation including atomic force microscopy, nanoindentation and Brillouin spectroscopy. The student will join a thriving team in an excellent research environment.

Funding Notes

The studentship provides funding for tuition fees, a stipend and laboratory expenses for Home (UK) applicants only.
The MRC DTP in Precision Medicine iCASE grant provides tuition fees and stipend of at least £15,285 (UKRI rate 2020/21).
Please view application information here:
Once you have all the required application documentation, please apply here:
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