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PhD studentship in Cancer Research - Neutrophils as drivers of hepatocellular carcinoma progression – predictive biomarker and target for therapeutic intervention?

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  • Full or part time
    Dr H Reeves
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This project will focus on the role of neutrophils in the development and progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), including their role as a biomarker predicting outcome for patients, as well as a target for therapeutic intervention.

HCC is the second leading cause of cancer death worldwide, owing to a lack of understanding of the key factors driving its progression, as well as limited treatment options. The adaptive immune response, involving lymphocytes predominantly, has received a lot of attention in the cancer field in the hope that its manipulation will deliver effective cancer therapies. We hypothesise however, based on our own novel data, that innate immune responses – of neutrophils in particular – are key, both in initiating cancer development as well as driving its progression. The student will characterise relationships between tissue and circulating neutrophils (numbers and phenotype) in association with HCC tumour grade, stage and outcome in human subjects as well as in established animal models of HCC. The student will also explore the impact of manipulation of neutrophils (number, phenotype) and their created environment (chemokine networks) on outcome in vitro an in vivo.

The project will provide a broad grounding in contemporary techniques relevant to translational cancer research, becoming familiar with the development and validation of targeted anti-cancer therapy, with a focus on neutrophil driven biology of HCC. He/she will be trained by experienced personnel in cell culture, tumour and tissue handling, protein extraction and purification, western blotting, immunohistochemistry, FACS and gene expression analyses. The student will have ‘Research Passport’ granting supervised honorary clinical access and will acquire a Home Office Licence, receiving training in animal handling, anaesthesia and surgical techniques. Training will also be given in data handling, processing, interpretation and statistical analyses.

You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree in biomedicine or a related area. A further qualification such as an MSc or MRes is advantageous.

This award is available to UK/EU and international applicants. If English is not your first language, you must have IELTS 7 with at least 6.5 in the written component, or equivalent. Further details can be found on the CRUK website

How to Apply

All applicants should complete the University’s postgraduate application system when applying for a studentship.

To do this please ‘Create a new account’.
You will need to include the following information:
•insert the programme code 8300F in the programme of study section
•select ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences – Cancer Research’ as the programme of study
•insert the studentship code CR072 in the studentship/partnership reference field
•attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the studentship reference code CR072 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
•attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications

Funding Notes

Sponsor: Cancer Research UK

Project Start Date: September 2016.

The funding is available for 4 years; a one year MRes in Cancer followed by a three year PhD, or a four year PhD (if an applicant has a cancer related masters equivalent).

Related Subjects

How good is research at Newcastle University in Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 8.70

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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