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The control of vascular remodeling in cancer by micrornas

Project Description

The remodeling of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels in tumours is critical for metastatic spread which is the most lethal aspect of cancer. We have extensive experience in studying key protein growth factors and cell surface receptors that drive these processes, but there are many signaling pathways involved that are yet to be characterized. MicroRNAs are a group of small regulatory RNA molecules that can coordinately modulate expression of multiple proteins in a signaling pathway; they are central players in gene regulation.

This project will identify microRNAs that regulate vascular remodeling in cancer. This, in turn, will lead to identification of novel signaling pathways required for tumour angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis (i.e. the growth of blood vessels and lymphatics in tumors). The project will involve molecular and cell biology, vascular biology, systems biology, pathology and bioinformatics. It will provide exciting opportunities for translational studies aimed at restricting the growth and spread of cancer.

The Achen laboratory is focused on characterising key molecular signalling events in the tumour microenvironment that facilitate the growth and spread of cancer. The ultimate aim is to therapeutically target these signalling events to block tumour progression.

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:
View Website

For further information regarding scholarships (both local and international), see:
View Website
Closing dates for applications for scholarships to commence in 2017: Round 1 -31 October 2016; Round 2 - 18 Dec 2016.


Stacker, et al.; Lymphangiogenesis and lymphatic vessel remodelling in cancer. Nature Reviews Cancer 14:159-172, 2014

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