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Tumour microenvironment and colorectal cancer development: understanding the mechanisms of the tumour growth

Project Description

Our group has conducted a series of international adjuvant trials of chemotherapy for colorectal cancer (Kerr RS. et al, (2016), Lancet Oncol, 17, 1543 – 1557). In parallel, we have established a biorepository of tissue and constitutional DNA (n=3500) which has allowed us to generate a number of cancer susceptibility SNPs and commercial partners to characterise a prognostic mRNA signature which assists in selection of patients for chemotherapy and evaluation of drug resistance (Orlando G. et al, (2016), Hum Mol Genet, 25, 2349 – 2359).

About the research

Co-option of stromal cells and the tumour greatly influences tumour initiation, metastasis and particularly drug resistance. They altered profiling of gene expression and tumour metabolism in response to inflammatory infiltration and that is partially involved in cytokine networks.

The identification of cytokine signalling for gene expression and metabolisms across stromal cells and tumour will help us to understand the mechanisms of the tumour growth and potentially offer opportunities for biomarker discovery and hence therapeutic targets.

The student will acquire expertise in a wide range of state-of-the-art molecular and cell biological techniques, and bioinformatics analysis; consequently providing an excellent foundation for a research career. Formalised training and assessment of each technique by our members of the laboratory as appropriate. Our laboratory has clearly defined protocols to support training in specific experimental techniques. Standard operating procedures are regularly updated to ensure that methods are optimal.
As well as the specific training detailed above, students will have access to high-quality training in scientific and generic skills, as well as access to a wide-range of seminars and training opportunities through the many research institutes and centres based in Oxford.

The Department has a successful mentoring scheme, open to graduate students, which provides an additional possible channel for personal and professional development outside the regular supervisory framework. We hold an Athena SWAN Silver Award in recognition of our efforts to build a happy and rewarding environment where all staff and students are supported to achieve their full potential.

Funding Notes

Our main deadline for applications for funded places has now passed. Supervisors may still be able to consider applications from students who have alternative means of funding (for example, charitable funding, clinical fellows or applicants with funding from a foreign government or equivalent). Prospective applicants are strongly advised to contact their prospective supervisor in advance of making an application.

Please note that any applications received after the main funding deadline will not be assessed until all applications that were received by the deadline have been processed. This may affect supervisor availability.


Tanskanen T. et al, (2018), Int J Cancer, 142, 540 – 546
Hutchins GGA. et al, (2018), Histopathology, 72, 391 - 404
Rodriguez-Broadbent H. et al, (2017), Int J Cancer, 140, 2701 – 2708
Sveen A. et al, (2017), Genome Med, 9
Kerr RS. et al, (2016), Lancet Oncol, 17, 1543 - 1557

Chen L. et al, (2016), Oncotarget, 7(8):9353-67

How good is research at University of Oxford in Clinical Medicine?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 238.51

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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