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Genes and Cell Interactions in Cancer Research Scholarship





The Centre for Inflammation currently has a full-time postgraduate scholarships available for suitably qualified candidates with a strong Honours degree (or equivalent) in biomedical science, pharmacology, chemistry, biomedical engineering or pharmacy to undertake research studies leading to a PhD focused on examining gene and cell interaction in cancer.

Cancer is a disease in which cells acquire mutations in key genes that change their behaviour. Under pressures of limiting space and nutrients, cells that have an advantage in survival and proliferation are selected and dominate the tissue. This mutation and selection process is an example of evolution. The clonal cooperation hypothesis of tumour progression predicts that genetically distinct clones of tumour cells interact in order for the tumour as a whole to progress to malignancy. These interactions enable the tumour cells to invade tissues locally and spread to draining lymph nodes and other organs.

This project will investigate the role of cooperative interactions between clones of cells in driving tumour progression in carcinomas. It uses live cell microscopy of genetically modified cells to determine whether clones of cells within carcinomas can interact to become more malignant, and identify what genes can interact to affect proliferation and motility when they are expressed in different individual cells. Computer simulations are used to predict the effects of these cell-cell interactions on the population of cells as a whole, and how they affect the clonal evolution of the cells.

The methods encountered to undertake this project will include some of the following techniques: recombinant DNA technology, mammalian cell culture, live-cell microscopy, and computational biology.