Patients with long-term inflammatory bowel disease have a 20% lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC). Early diagnosis of CRC is essential as it leads to better therapy and survival. Therefore, IBD patients are currently screened by using regular surveillance colonoscopies (camera test) and biopsies (tissue sampling) for diagnosis at pre-cancerous or early cancer stage. Despite screening and biochemical tests, advanced cancers are still reported and the value of surveillance remains controversial. Therefore, reliable markers for early diagnosis of CRC in patients with IBD are still required for better therapy and increased survival rate.
On this account, in this PhD project, reliable markers for early diagnosis of colorectal cancer will be identified, by combining standard histology and advanced micro-computed tomography (microCT) imaging. The PhD candidate will further develop a microCT protocol for imaging these markers, which is compatible with routine histopathology in the hospital. This will allow - in a later stage of the PhD project - studying biopsy samples from patients with long-term inflammatory bowel disease, to provide evidence for the utility of microCT imaging in CRC diagnosis.
This multidisciplinary PhD project offers a unique interdisciplinary programme at the engineering, life science, and biomedical interface, with shared support from the Faculty of Engineering & the Environment and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton, as well as from our clinical partner at the Solent Centre for Digestive Disease at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth and our industrial partner Nikon Metrology in Tring. It brings together several established collaborations into a multi-disciplinary consortium, including engineering scientists, medical scientists, pathologists and medical informatics. The PhD candidate will work closely together with our clinical and industrial partner and s/he will participate and drive our research at the X-Ray Imaging Centre μ-VIS at the University of Southampton, while benefitting from the exceptional opportunity to gain expertise in cutting-edge bioimaging technologies, computational engineering approaches and our translational efforts to change the life for the better, based on engineering and biomedical expertise.
This is a 36 months PhD scholarship starting October 2016. The ideal candidate will have biomedical (imaging) experience and a good knowledge of computational engineering approaches. In general, the candidate must have a strong background in engineering sciences with a strong interest in biomedical questions.
If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Philipp Schneider, Bioengineering Science Research Group, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, Email: [email protected]
, Tel: +44 (0) 23 8059 4640 or Sylvia Pender, Clinical and Experimental Science, Faculty of Medicine, Email: [email protected]
, Tel: +44 (0) 23 81205081.