Fully funded 3.5 year PhD studentship: Ex vivo modelling of human lymphoid organs to interrogate the mechanisms of action of myeloid checkpoint inhibitors
Applications from prospective students are invited for this fully funded 3.5 year PhD studentship to start in October 2023, under the joint supervision of Professor Menna Clatworthy (https: // clatworthylab.github.io/documentation/landingpage.html), Department of Medicine (University of Cambridge) and Dr. Georgina Bowyer (AstraZeneca).
Project Background Checkpoint inhibitors targeting inhibitory molecules on T cells (PD1, CTLA4) to reinvigorate tumour killing, have had great clinical success in some cancers but not others, and even in those cancers with good responses, 60-80% of patients fail to respond. Myeloid cells are a major component of the tumour microenvironment, and can be either pro- or anti- tumourogenic. Therefore, one major strategy being developed is myeloid checkpoint inhibition which, combined with traditional checkpoint inhibitors, may release T cell killing and expand the proportion of responsive patients.
The mechanisms of these checkpoint inhibitors can be difficult to model in vivo or using cell lines. Using human tissue, this project will utilise the Clatworthy lab's world-leading capabilities in advanced imaging and single cell RNA sequencing, together with AstraZeneca's experience in co-culture assays to develop complex 3D models that better recapitulate the tumour microenvironment and use these to gain a deeper mechanistic understanding of candidate drugs.
Environment Professor Menna Clatworthy is an Honorary Consultant Nephrologist and Group Leader based in the Molecular Immunity Unit in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB). Her group is focused on human tissue immunity and aims to use single cell genomics, advanced imaging and pre- clinical models to deliver insights into how immune responses are generated within organs in homeostasis and disease. Dr. Georgina Bowyer is a Senior Scientist within the Clinical Immune Oncology Discovery team in Oncology R&D at AstraZeneca in Cambridge. The student will benefit from the close proximity of the LMB and the new AstraZeneca global headquarters across the road, both situated on the Cambridge Biomedical Research Campus.
Candidate The successful candidate should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) at least a 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. This PhD offers the unique opportunity to work at the interface of basic science and clinical medicine in both academic and industry settings. The successful candidate will have a deep interest in cancer immunology and wish to apply this to clinically relevant problems. They should be enthusiastic, focused and able to work well both independently and as part of a team. Prior experience in cell culture or working with primary human tissue would be advantageous but full training will be given.
Funding The studentship will cover a stipend, tuition fees (at Home fee level only) and a contribution towards project consumables and training.
Due to funding restrictions. The studentship is only available at the "Home rate" (https: // www. postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/fees). Overseas applicants can apply, but will be required to cover the difference between the "Home" and "Overseas" fee rate.
All applications should be made online via the University's Applicant Portal for a PhD in Medicine: https: // www. postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/cvmdpdmed/apply, where you can also find full eligibility and course details.
A completed application must be submitted by the closing date below. An application is only complete when all the supporting documents, including the 2 academic references, are submitted. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure their referees submit their references before the closing date.
The deadline for applications is 31st January 2023.
Please quote reference RC34542 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.
The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.
The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.Department/Location
Department of MedicineReference
5 December 2022Closing date
31 January 2023