Metastatic rectal cancer represents a major clinical challenge – the need to control the primary tumour and prevent local invasion into surrounding structures (primarily by pelvic radiotherapy), but also the need to limit the spread of systemic disease (by chemotherapy). Only with successful control of both sites of disease can curative surgery be performed. These treatment regimens cannot be given together because of toxicity, and so the prioritisation of treatments is normally based on whichever site represents the greatest disease burden or perceived risk to the patient.
The host immune response to tumour and subsequent modulation of this immune response is recognised as a key driver of tumour behaviour, as well as a key driver in response to therapy. Understanding the immune response at the primary and metastatic sites of disease, and the effects chemotherapy and radiotherapy have on this immune response and on tumour behaviour, will lead to better understanding of how and why these cancers respond to treatment.
The overall goal of this project is to gain a better understanding of how both the cancer cells (primary rectal tumour and liver metastasis) and the immune cells respond to radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
You will join two vibrant cancer research laboratories (The Mielgo Lab and The Parsons Lab) which are part of the Department of Molecular and Clinical Cancer Medicine at the University of Liverpool.
The project will harness the scientific expertise in tumour-stroma-immune interactions (Mielgo) and radiation biology (Parsons), in collaboration with clinical and scientists experts in advanced rectal cancer (Vimalachandran), metastatic liver disease (Jones & Schmid) and immune-oncology (Ottensmeier).
This exciting NWCR-funded PhD project provides exceptional opportunities for the student to benefit from diverse expertise and to be exposed to cutting edge technologies that we have already established in both labs.
We expect (Qualifications and Experience):
It is expected that you will be a highly self-motivated individual with an interest in learning and applying your research skills to an exciting project. Applicants should have a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a relevant subject (i.e. cancer biology, molecular biology, and/or biomedical sciences) and some experience of working in a research laboratory. You should be highly motivated to pursue a PhD training and should be able to work independently and also as part of a team. You will also be expected to generate good quality rigorous data to make them available to the society and advance scientific knowledge via publications in peer-reviewed journals.
For students whose first language is not English, the University’s minimum requirements are the IELTS test with a minimum overall score of 6.5, and no less than 5.5 in each of the sub-tests (reading, writing, speaking and listening) or an equivalent qualification which can be found here https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/study/international/apply/english-language/
Closing date for applications: 27th February 2022
Interviews will take place between the 16th-18th March.
Anticipated starting date of project: 1st September 2022
How to apply:
Please send the following documents as a single PDF file to Dr Ainhoa Mielgo on: [Email Address Removed]
1. Cover letter
3. Names and contact details of three references
If you do not hear from us within 2 weeks after the deadline please assume that you were not selected for an interview.
For informal enquiries please contact Dr Ainhoa Mielgo on: [Email Address Removed]