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EastBio Untangling the role of microglia in colonising brain tumours through targeted drug delivery

  • Full or part time
    Prof A N Hulme

  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, January 05, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

A PhD studentship is available in the group of Professor Alison Hulme (School of Chemistry, The University of Edinburgh; Other supervisors: Dr Dirk Sieger, and Professor Valerie Brunton
The closing date for applications is 05 January 2020

The Hulme group has developed a Raman-active biodegradable polymer which can be used to generate nanoparticles (NPs) for drug delivery. In collaboration with the Brunton group at Edinburgh we have imaged the selective uptake of these particles in microglia [1]. In this project we will collaborate with the Sieger lab to investigate how the selective delivery of small molecules and/or biologics to microglia via NPs can be used to untangle their many roles in tumour colonisation and tumour proliferation in zebrafish models [2]. Visualisation will be achieved using a combination of fluorescence and Raman microscopy. In particular, we will use a cutting-edge stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscope [3], to track biodegradable NP delivery and uptake in zebrafish and correlate this with phenotypic responses for the first time.

Application Process:
To apply for an EASTBIO PhD studentship, follow the instructions below:

1) Check FindaPhD for our available projects and contact Professor Alison Hulme before you apply.

2) After you have discussed the projects of interest to you with the project supervisors, download and complete our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion survey and then fill in the EASTBIO Application Form and submit to each of your proposed projects as per the instructions in the project adverts.
3) Send the EASTBIO Reference Form to your two academic/professional referees, and ask them to submit as specified on the project adverts.

4) If you are nominated by the supervisor(s) of the EASTBIO PhD project you wish to apply for, they will provide a Supervisor Support Statement.

5) We anticipate that our first set of interviews will be in the week commencing 10th February 2020 with awards made the following week.

If you have further queries about the application/recruitment process please email EastBio.

Please ask your referees to submit your references directly to Professor Alison Hulme

Equality and Diversity Clause – this should be included in every advert
The School of Chemistry holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. The University is a member of the Race Equality Charter and is a Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champion, actively promoting LGBT equality. The University has a range of initiatives to support a family friendly working environment. See our University Initiatives website for further information. University Initiatives website:

The project will provide a broad interdisciplinary training, including: nanoparticle preparation and functionalisation; cell, tissue and zebrafish experiments; and microscopy (fluorescence and stimulated Raman scattering). The student will be hosted by the School of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh and will be integrated into the research teams of Profs Hulme (Chemistry), Dr Sieger (CDBS) and Prof Brunton (IGMM).

Funding Notes

This 48 month fully-funded PhD position is supported through the BBSRC EastBio Doctoral Training Partnership. Applicants must hold a first or upper second class UK honours degree or equivalent and must meet RCUK residency requirements. More information can be found here: View Website


[1] Alkyne-tagged PLGA allows direct visualisation of nanoparticles in vitro and ex vivo by stimulated Raman scattering microscopy. S. Vanden-Hehir, S. Cairns, M. Lee, L. Zoupi, M. P. Shaver, V. G. Brunton, A. Williams, A. N. Hulme, Biomacromolecules, 2019, Just Accepted.
[2] Brain tumours repurpose endogenous neuron to microglia signalling mechanisms to promote their own proliferation. K. Chia, M. Keatinge, J. Mazzolini, D. Sieger, eLife, 2019, 8:e46912.
[3] Imaging Drug Uptake by Bioorthogonal Stimulated Raman Scattering Microscopy. W. J. Tipping, M. Lee, A. Serrels, V. G. Brunton, A. N. Hulme, Chem. Sci., 2017, 8, 5606-5615.

How good is research at University of Edinburgh in Chemistry?
(joint submission with University of St Andrews)

FTE Category A staff submitted: 43.30

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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