About the Project
Squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) are amongst the most common cancer types afflicting man. SCCs most frequently arise from stratified squamous epithelia such as the epidermis or the mucosae of the head and neck. We have recently identified two novel microRNA-21 (miR-21)-dependent proto-oncogenic networks that underpin SCC in skin and head & neck in both mice and humans.
We hypothesize that inflammation in SCC occurs in a tissue-specific manner leading to miR-21 induction. The project is designed to investigate which upstream pro-inflammatory pathways promote dysregulation of miR-21 in skin versus head & neck. Successful completion of this project will pioneer novel therapeutic approaches and will determine the merit to explore tissue-specific targeted therapies of human SCC to improve clinical outcomes in this disease. Skills to be taught include molecular biology, biochemistry, cell culture and knockout mice.
The Darido lab investigates human head and neck cancer - a devastating disease with poor survival rates. The molecular heterogeneity of the disease and the lack of laboratory models have hindered the development of improved treatment modalities for heterogeneous head and neck cancer patients. We have recently discovered the genetic defects that trigger head and neck cancer development. These defects are also evident in subsets of human cancers. We are currently exploring novel treatment strategies aimed at targeting the genetic defects, and we expect that our findings will lead to new personalised therapies for head and neck cancer patients that are likely to improve their outcomes.
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne 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.
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.
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 2020: Round 1 -31 October 2019; Round 2 - 31 Jan 2020; Round 3 - 15 May 2020.