Towards personalisation of Proton Beam Therapy for paediatric patients

   Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

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  Dr Marianne Aznar  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) constitutes a major technological advance in the treatment of cancer with radiation, due to the unique properties of protons. The Christie NHS Proton Beam Therapy centre started treating patients in December 2018 and follows each treated patient through a dedicated outcomes unit.

A second Proton Beam Therapy centre opened in London (UCL/UCH) in December 2021, and NHS England has ensured that outcomes from both centres are collected in a national registry. Though the dosimetric benefits of PBT are well documented, especially for young patients and some tumours (e.g. base of skull), evidence of the clinical benefits for different patient types is limited. In addition, uncertainties related to the biological effect of proton beams means that comparison with photon-treated patients is not straightforward.

This project will use the unique resource of the National Proton Beam Therapy registry, containing high-quality prospective data collection to 1) identify dose constraints for critical organs in young patients, such the heart or bowel and 2) to explore the use of quantitative imaging biomarkers (radiomics) for outcome prediction.

This project is at the crossroads between clinical oncology and physics. Experience in clinical oncology, and more specifically in Proton Beam Therapy for the treatment of cancer in paediatric patients, is essential.

The candidate will benefit from working in a high-profile, multidisciplinary clinical field, and learn specific skills e.g. assessment of treatment plans for Proton Beam Therapy under the supervision of Medical Physics and Clinical Oncology experts, and will be embedded within the Radiotherapy Related Research team at the University of Manchester and the Proton Clinical Outcome Unit at the Christie NHS. 


Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a related area / subject.  

Before you Apply 

Applicants must make direct contact with preferred supervisors before applying. It is your responsibility to make arrangements to meet with potential supervisors, prior to submitting a formal online application.  

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 - PhD Cancer Sciences.

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. For more information please visit

Your application form must be accompanied by a number of supporting documents by the advertised deadlines. Without all the required documents submitted at the time of application, your application will not be processed and we cannot accept responsibility for late or missed deadlines. Incomplete applications will not be considered. If you have any queries regarding making an application please contact our admissions team [Email Address Removed]  

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  

Biological Sciences (4) Nursing & Health (27)

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
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