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Immunostaging for melanoma to accurately predict the risk of relapse after surgery

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  • Full or part time
    Prof A Papenfuss
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

This project will utilise a large biobank of clinically annotated samples from patients with melanoma at high risk of relapse after surgery to develop a signature that predicts risk of relapse. By combining readouts from various platforms that measure immune-tumour engagement as well as known clinicopathological staging information, the project seeks to develop an accurate immune-staging algorithm.

The project will build on prospective data collected through Melanoma Research Victoria and biomarker analysis using a number of platforms including circulating tumour DNA, other circulating biomarkers (microRNA, autoantibodies) as well as genomics analysis. New bioinformatics methods will be used to develop a clinically meaningful risk prediction signature.

The Papenfuss laboratory uses mathematics, statistics and computing to make sense of cancer genome sequencing and other -omics data.

Prof Tony Papenfuss leads the Computational Biology Program.
This program uses mathematics, statistics and computing to generate new discoveries in cancer. We develop new models, algorithms and software tools, and apply these to make sense of cancer data. This includes whole genome, exome, transcriptome and epigenome sequencing data.
Our research interests encompass:
• bioinformatics algorithm and methods development
• computational cancer biology
• cancer evolution and genomics
• software tool development
• personalised medicine.
The program includes research laboratories, as well as the Bioinformatics Consulting Core and the Research Computing Facility. Scientists come from a range of disciplines including biology, computer science, mathematics and statistics, as well as software engineering. Many researchers in the program hold joint appointment with other programs or institutes.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne Australia
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre is Australia’s only public hospital solely dedicated to cancer, and home to the largest cancer research group in Australia. Cancer is a complex set of diseases, and modern cancer research institutes such as Peter Mac conduct research covering a diversity of topics that range from laboratory-based studies into the fundamental mechanisms of cell growth, translational studies that seek more accurate cancer diagnosis, clinical trials with novel treatments, and research aimed to improve supportive care.
All students engaged in postgraduate studies at Peter Mac are enrolled in the Comprehensive Cancer PhD (CCPhD) program, regardless of which university they are enrolled through. The program is managed by the Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology (The University of Melbourne), based at Peter Mac.

Tapping into the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience offered by the ten partners of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) alliance, the University of Melbourne’s Comprehensive Cancer PhD Program provides a unique opportunity for multidisciplinary cancer-related PhD candidates to experience clinical and research activities across the alliance.

The Comprehensive Cancer PhD program builds on established conventional training for cancer research students providing a coordinated program of skills, research and career training in addition to usual PhD activities. The program is designed to complement existing PhD activities and provides opportunities to develop professional skills that will help candidates to fulfil their career ambitions.

Funding Notes

All PhD students at Peter Mac must have a scholarship from The University of Melbourne or through another government, trust or philanthropic organisation. Before applying for a scholarship, you must have agreed on a project with an institute supervisor.

For further information about the university application process, see:

For further information regarding scholarships (both local and international), see:
Closing dates for applications for scholarships to commence in 2019: Round 1 -31 October 2018; Round 2 - 28 Nov 2018; Round 3 - 20 Feb 2019.

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