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In situ Immune Dynamics through Breast Cancer Progression and Treatment

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

Project Description

Recent trials show that some breast cancer patients benefit from treatment with immunotherapies. Immune cells infiltrating breast tumours are also established prognostic factors in some breast cancer subtypes. We now face the challenges of identifying those patients most likely to benefit from treatment, how best to combine immunotherapies with conventional therapies and discovering novel immune targets for new treatments. This project will address these questions by using cutting edge multidimensional tissue imaging (imaging mass cytometry) technology to quantify expression of fifty markers simultaneously in breast tumours. This will enable in-depth characterisation of the cellular components of the in situ immune response, their spatial relatedness and organisation at the tumour-immune interface. How immune dynamics reflect tumour evolution and treatment response will be evaluated by using pre and post-treatment samples. Extensive training in systems pathology, multidimensional tissue imaging, computational biology and clinical epidemiology will be provided.

Preferred skills/knowledge
A Master’s degree or excellent first degree with some laboratory research experience is required. Experience both at the bench and with computational biology is desirable; however outstanding individuals with either a purely quantitative or wet laboratory background are welcome. A strong interest in translational cancer research is needed.

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 in addition, a stipend of £19,000 per annum, initially for 3 years, with funding for a further year possible as required. The study start date will be October 2020 (Michaelmas term 2020).

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.


Giesen C, Wang HA, Schapiro D, Zivanovic N, Jacobs A, Hattendorf B, Schuffler PJ, Grolimund D, Buhmann JM, Brandt S, Varga Z, Wild PJ, Gunther D, Bodenmiller B (2014) Highly multiplexed imaging of tumor tissues with subcellular resolution by mass cytometry. Nat Methods 11(4): 417-22

Keren L, Bosse M, Marquez D, Angoshtari R, Jain S, Varma S, Yang SR, Kurian A, Van Valen D, West R, Bendall SC, Angelo M (2018) A Structured Tumor-Immune Microenvironment in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Revealed by Multiplexed Ion Beam Imaging. Cell 174(6): 1373-1387.e19

Schulz D, Zanotelli VRT, Fischer JR, Schapiro D, Engler S, Lun XK, Jackson HW, Bodenmiller B (2017) Simultaneous Multiplexed Imaging of mRNA and Proteins with Subcellular Resolution in Breast Cancer Tissue Samples by Mass Cytometry. Cell systems

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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