Location: The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, University of Melbourne
Supervisors: Prof C. Scott, Dr H. Barker
Project details: PhD Research Project, Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Rare cancers collectively cause about one third of cancer-related deaths in Australia each year, however, research and treatment funding remain disproportionately low. Ovarian carcinosarcoma (OCS) is the most lethal gynaecological cancer, and as a rare cancer has few evidence-based treatment options because supportive data is simply not available. Standard treatment for OCS comprises surgery with radiotherapy and platinum-based chemotherapy. Most patients relapse within one year of treatment and have a median overall survival of less than two years.
This project will involve the analysis of ovarian carcinosarcoma patient samples using a variety of techniques including genomics, 3D organoid culture, live cell imaging, immune profiling, drug library screening, and CRISPR screening. New pre-clinical models of OCS, including organoid and patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models will be developed throughout the project. The project aims to identify pathways that mediate response to conventional chemotherapeutics and that show potential for targeting with novel agents, to inform clinical trial design in this under-studied cancer.
The Scott Laboratory has a strong emphasis on research that has potential for clinical translation. Our relatively large laboratory of 15 is made up of a combination of clinician scientists, post-doctoral fellows, students and research assistants. We have a strong collaborative ethic and while the lab is working on two main projects, rare cancer and ovarian cancer, technical expertise and resources are shared between both groups. There is a variety of expertise within the group including bioinformatics, genomics and cell biology.
The Institute is one of Australia’s leading biomedical research organisations, with a strong national and international reputation for performing highly influential basic and translational research.
With more than 1,100 staff and students, the Institute is addressing some of the major health challenges of our time, with a focus on cancer, infection, inflammation, immune disorders, development and ageing. We are at the forefront of research innovation, with a strong commitment to excellence and investment in research computing, advanced technologies and developing new medicines and diagnostics. And our researchers are strongly supported by Professional Services teams.
The Institute is organised around five themes; Cancer Research and Treatments; Infection, Inflammation and Immunity; Healthy Development and Ageing; New Medicines and Advanced Technologies and Computational Biology.
This Institute is committed to delivering long term improvements in treating and diagnosing diseases, with many national and international clinical trials underway based on research undertaken at the Institute.
The Institute’s main laboratories are located in the world-renowned Parkville precinct, a vibrant and collaborative life science research, education and healthcare hub. The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute Biotechnology Centre is located 30 minutes from Parkville at La Trobe University’s R&D Park in Bundoora and includes facilities for medicinal chemistry and antibody development and production.
For further information about the application process, see: https://www.wehi.edu.au/education/phd
For further information regarding university scholarships (both local and international), see: https://mdhs.unimelb.edu.au/research/research-training
Closing dates for applications for scholarships to commence in 2020: Round 1 – 31 October 2019; Round 2 – 31 January 2020; Round 3 – 15 May 2020.