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Fibroblast Heterogeneity in Pancreatic Cancer

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, November 15, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

In pancreatic cancer, cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) have been shown to promote tumour growth, chemotherapy resistance and immunosuppression by secreting ligands and extracellular matrix proteins. More recent evidence indicates that targeting of CAFs in pancreatic cancer might also have tumour-restraining functions. These studies underscore the need to better determine the nature and roles of CAFs, to identify effective therapeutic targets. This project will determine the interplay between cancer cells and fibroblasts in pancreatic cancer with diverse tumour genetic landscapes, as this may have both prognostic and therapeutic implications. The research project will involve the use of in vivo genetically modified and transplantation mouse models, in vitro three-dimensional, pancreatic tumour organoid/fibroblast co-culture models, genetic and pharmacological targeting of pancreatic tumour organoids and fibroblasts, bulk and single-cell RNA-Sequencing, flow cytometry, immunohistochemical and RNA in situ techniques, and standard molecular biology and biochemistry.

Preferred skills/knowledge
Applicants are expected to have experience in laboratory techniques utilised in cellular and molecular biology. Also, experience in some of the areas mentioned in the project description would be highly desirable. The successful candidate must be strongly motivated to drive an independent research project, but also be a highly collaborative individual.

Please click on ’Visit Website’ for details on how to apply. You must submit an application on-line to be considered for this studentship.

Funding Notes

This project is funded by a Cancer Research UK studentship that includes full funding for University and College fees and a stipend of £19,000 per annum.

No nationality restrictions apply to Cancer Research UK funded studentships. Applications are invited from recent graduates or final year undergraduates who hold or expect to gain a first/upper second class degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject from any recognised university worldwide.


Ohlund D, Handly-Santana A, Biffi G, Elyada E, et al. Distinct populations of inflammatory fibroblasts and myofibroblasts in pancreatic cancer. J Exp Med 2017;214(3):579-96.

Biffi G, et al. IL1-Induced JAK/STAT Signaling Is Antagonized by TGFbeta to Shape CAF Heterogeneity in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma. Cancer Discov 2019;9(2):282-301.

Elyada E, et al. Cross-species single-cell analysis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma reveals antigen-presenting cancer-associated fibroblasts. Cancer Discov 2019.

How good is research at University of Cambridge in Clinical Medicine?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 192.05

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

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