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Chemical Agents for Diagnosis and Non-Invasive Therapy of Cervical Cancer

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

Project Description

Medical Research Scotland
PhD Studentship Award

This project is one of 15 four-year PhD Studentships funded by Medical Research Scotland (http://www.medicalresearchscotland.org.uk) to be delivered jointly by the named University and Company. The Studentships will provide the first-class academic and commercial training needed to equip the successful candidate for a science career in an increasingly competitive market.

"Novel Theranostic Agents for Enhanced Diagnosis and Minimally Invasive Therapy of Cervical Cancer" to be delivered by the University of Edinburgh and EM Imaging Ltd (http://www.edinimage.com) [Company supervisor: Dr Neil McDonald].

Cervical cancer accounts for around 2% of all new cases of cancer in females, with particularly high relevance in Scotland. Current treatment of cervical cancer relies mainly on surgery. Surgical procedures are invasive and entail healthcare costs and potential risk of complications, especially in women of reproductive age. Therefore, there is a need to develop less invasive, more effective and safer therapies to reduce the number of surgical interventions in cervical cancer patients. This PhD project aims to generate new therapies to treat cervical cancer more effectively and in a safer way.

Our approach focuses on the generation of new therapy agents with the ability to destroy cancer cells specifically upon exposure of cervical tissue to non-damaging light. Current therapies that employ such a strategy are limited by the low specificity of the agents, which leads to significant destruction of healthy tissue. Our new agents will recognise specific features that are only found in cancer cells, and will, therefore, remarkably reduce the destruction of healthy cells and all associated side effects. Our novel procedure will also benefit patients with less developed cervical lesions, who could be treated at an early stage, thus reducing their risk of progression to more advanced stages of cancer.

The PhD student will be supervised by Dr Marc Vendrell, Professor Simon Herrington (University of Edinburgh) and Dr Neil McDonald and will be part of a highly multidisciplinary team with expertise in probe development, inflammation, cancer pathology and molecular imaging. Value and feasibility of the research project are enhanced by the collaboration between research leaders in their respective fields (Vendrell: chemical probes; Herrington: cervical cancer and pathology, McDonald: molecular biology and imaging). Notably, the members of the team are located within the Little France Campus (University of Edinburgh and the company EM Imaging), where all chemical, biological, characterisation assays and imaging experiments will be performed.


Candidates must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a first or 2.1 UK BSc Honours degree, or equivalent for degrees obtained outside the UK, in an appropriate discipline.

Applicants should send a CV, the contact details of 2 references (including email addresses) and a covering letter, explaining why the applicant wishes to carry out this project, by email to:
Dr Marc Vendrell
[Email Address Removed]

References will only be requested for shortlisted candidates.

Interviews are expected to take place 3-4 weeks after the closing date for applications.

It is anticipated that the PhD Studentship will start in September 2016.

Funding Notes

PhD Studentship provides: an annual tax-free stipend of £16,500, increasing to £17,000 over the four years; tuition fees at UK/EU rates only; consumables; and contribution to travel expenses. International fees are not covered.



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