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Role of tumour directed T cells in smouldering myeloma


   UCL Cancer Institute

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  Prof K Yong  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The UCL Myeloma and Tumour Immunology groups are seeking a talented and enthusiastic PhD candidate to lead a project to identify and characterise tumour directed T cells in the bone marrow environment of patients with smouldering myeloma. Smouldering myeloma is a pre-cancerous condition that carries a 50% risk (over 5 years) of developing into the bone marrow cancer called multiple myeloma. Our laboratory seeks to understand how the host immune response functions to prevent the transformation from pre-cancer to malignant disease. This interdisciplinary project is funded by a Myeloma UK Early Diagnosis Research Grant. The student will join a group of clinical and non-clinical scientists working on smouldering myeloma, funded by a CRUK Early Detection programme grant, and supported by a national observation study for smouldering myeloma. The aim is to identify tumour reactive T cells, define their differentiation and activation status, and understand how these cells control, or fail to prevent, immune escape during malignant transformation. The UCL myeloma laboratory uses primary bone marrow samples from patients to interrogate immune function, and identify tumour reactive T cells, correlating findings with clinical features and outcomes.  

The student will work within the Yong/Lee, Quezada and Chain laboratories to execute the project. The student will work with primary bone marrow and blood samples, to isolate tumour and immune cells for co-culture, optimising conditions for antigen presentation and expansion of tumour reactive T cells. Readout assays include cytokine production, T cell phenotype and expansion and T cell receptor sequences (TCR) from different culture conditions. The student will use bioinformatics to analyse and integrate data from bulk RNA sequencing, single cell sequencing, high parameter flow and mass cytometry, TCR sequencing.  The research groups have technical and bioinformatics expertise and infrastructure to provide training and support, there are core facilities for single cell sequencing (10X genomics), flow and mass cytometry, TCR sequencing with dedicated technical support, and laboratory scientists. The Early Detection programme in myeloma is supported by a dedicated technician, a post-doctoral scientist and clinical research fellow who will work closely with the student. Day-to-day supervision is provided by junior post-doctoral scientists working in the Yong, Quezada and Chain groups, and bioinformatics support is provided by a second year PhD student in computational immunology, and the Cancer Institute Bioinformatics suite under the leadership of Dr Javier Herrero.

More detailed information about the research project is available on request from : [Email Address Removed] and [Email Address Removed]

To apply and for more information, please visit our website.


Funding Notes

This is a 3-year PhD studentship funded by Myeloma UK, which covers tuition fees at Home rate. An annual stipend will be paid at the UKRI minimum stipend London weighted level which is £17,609 in the current 2021-22 academic year.
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