Inflammation and brain tumour growth

   Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

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  Prof David Brough, Dr G Lopez-Castejon, Dr Omar Pathmanaban  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Our basic research aims to understand fundamental mechanisms of inflammation, such as the activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome. The NLRP3 inflammasome is a large multi-molecular protein complex that forms in cells of the innate immune system and its activation drives the release of proinflammatory cytokines of the interleukin-1 family, and a type of cell death called pyroptosis. Through understanding the regulation of NLRP3 we can target it in disease. An area of major unmet clinical need is in the management of brain tumours. Within the GJBRC our primary focus is on glioblastoma and vestibular schwannoma (VS). In VS the tumours go from a static to a growth phase that is dependent on an inflammatory response and in GBM an inflammatory response may drive treatment resistance. There is some evidence to suggest that NLRP3 could be involved in tumorigenesis. With access to brain tumour tissue we will be able to interrogate the inflammatory responses present and establish new ways of targeting or managing inflammation in brain tumours.

Entry Requirements

Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a related area/subject. Candidates with previous laboratory experience are particularly encouraged to apply.

How To Apply

For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website ( Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor. On the online application form select the appropriate subject title.

For international students, we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website”

Funding Notes

Applications are invited from self-funded students. This project has a Band 1 fee. Details of our different fee bands can be found on our website (


LRRC8A is essential for hypotonicity-, but not for DAMP-induced NLRP3 inflammasome activation.
Green JP, Swanton T, Morris LV, El-Sharkawy LY, Cook J, Yu S, Beswick J, Adamson AD, Humphreys NE, Bryce R, Freeman S, Lawrence C, Brough D.
Elife. 2020 Nov 20;9:e59704. doi: 10.7554/eLife.59704.
Priming Is Dispensable for NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation in Human Monocytes In Vitro.
Gritsenko A, Yu S, Martin-Sanchez F, Diaz-Del-Olmo I, Nichols EM, Davis DM, Brough D, Lopez-Castejon G.
Front Immunol. 2020 Sep 30;11:565924. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.565924. eCollection 2020.
The inflammatory microenvironment in vestibular schwannoma.
Hannan CJ, Lewis D, O'Leary C, Donofrio CA, Evans DG, Roncaroli F, Brough D, King AT, Coope D, Pathmanaban ON.
Neurooncol Adv. 2020 Feb 27;2(1):vdaa023. doi: 10.1093/noajnl/vdaa023. eCollection 2020 Jan-Dec.
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