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Transcriptional heterogeneity and resistance to therapy in prostate cancer

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is a standard treatment for prostate cancer that works well in many cases but rapidly fails in others. Alternate therapies are needed for the subset of patients who fail ADT, but it’s difficult to determine at diagnosis who will respond well to ADT and other standard therapies and who won’t. This is in part due to massive differences in gene expression both within and between tumours of the prostate.

We are using a combination of genomics techniques to investigate how genetic and transcriptional heterogeneity relates to drug response in a unique cohort of patient-derived laboratory models that recapitulate the most highly aggressive forms of the disease. By combining results of drug testing experiments with our genomic analyses, we aim to identify more effective treatments for the most difficult to cure cases.

We have begun to apply newly developed single-cell RNA sequencing techniques to search for cellular subpopulations within prostate tumours with unique gene expression signatures that may be driving drug resistance in our patient-derived models. This approach is opening new frontiers, by revealing previously unappreciated prostate tumour cell types that were not apparent in bulk sequencing.

The Goode research group combines bioinformatics, genomics molecular evolution and population genetics to study the evolutionary forces governing how tumours form and respond to therapy, mainly focusing on prostate cancer, breast cancer and sarcoma.
We do this through in-depth analysis of large genome and RNA sequencing data sets from cancer patients and laboratory models of cancer, as well as computational and statistical modelling.

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.

Funding Notes

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:
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For further information regarding scholarships (both local and international), see:
View Website
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.

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