PhD Studentship Personalised Medicine: a lab-on-a-chip platform for analysis of patient tissues for testing cancer drugs and therapies – towards a “human-on-a-chip”



To celebrate the University’s research successes, the University of Hull is offering 13 full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarship or International Fee Bursaries for candidates applying for the areas within the Faculty Science and Engineering, including this project.

Supervisors: Dr Nicole Pamme, n.pamme@hull.ac.uk, 01482 465027, Department of Chemistry;
Prof. John Greenman, Dr Charlotte Dyer, Dr Elena Rosca and Dr Chris Cawthorne,
School of Biological, Biomedical and Environmental Sciences

Closing date: 3rd February 2014. Studentships will start on 29th September 2014

Offering “personalised medicine” means finding the ‘right drug for the right patient at the right time’. For cancer patients this is currently achieved via immunohistochemical and genetic characterisation of patient samples, i.e. biopsies. However, this process is far from ideal, as it is difficult to take repeated biopsies and also as there are large time variations for changes in tumours to manifest themselves. Differences in patient drug metabolism that may impact on the toxicity of therapy are also difficult to assess. Therefore, new approaches are required to assess the efficacy of targeted therapies.

Pioneering work in Hull has demonstrated the maintenance of viable tissue samples for study in lab-on-a-chip devices allowing human biopsy samples to be analysed directly. Researchers are now envisaging a “human-on-a-chip” i.e. an integrated platform that features several “mini-organs”, connected via an artificial fluidic network, mimicking systemic organ interactions. Imaging and microfluidic analyses of these tissues ex vivo potentially allows the study of drug efficacy, metabolism and disease prognosis in individuals.

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In this project, we aim to develop such a microfluidic device using tissue sections that can evaluate both the metabolism of drugs and the response of tumours to therapy in individual patients. We also aim to use this system to validate imaging response of biomarkers for confirmation, enabling truly personalised therapy.

The University of Hull has a strong track-record in lab-on-a-chip research for cancer studies and has recently invested heavily in state-of-the-art cancer imaging facilities. This project will be supervised by a team of researchers from the Departments of Chemistry and Biology, bringing together expertise in lab-on-a-chip platforms (Pamme), cancer research (Greenman, Dyer) and molecular imaging (Cawthorne, Rosca).

The successful candidate will be trained in a highly interdisciplinary manner, gaining experience of both microfluidic device design and fabrication and all aspects of tissue analysis and tumour biology. Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, a first class or 2.1 degree (BSc or Masters) in a relevant discipline within the Biological or Physical Sciences. A strong interest in multidisciplinary work is crucial.

To apply for this post please click on the ‘Apply’ button below

In order to qualify for this scholarship you will require a 2.1 in a relevant subject.

This full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarship will include fees at the ‘home/EU’ student rate and maintenance (£13,726 in 2013/14) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress.

Full-time International Fee PhD Studentships will include full fees at the International student rate for three years, dependant on satisfactory progress.

PhD students at the University of Hull follow modules for research and transferable skills development and gain a Masters level Certificate, or Diploma, in Research Training, in addition to their research degree.

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