PhD studentship: Dissecting and Targeting Fibroblast Heterogeneity in Pancreatic Cancer

University of Cambridge
November 14, 2022
Offerd Salary:£19,000
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Negotigation
Working type:N/A
Job Ref.:N/A
PhD studentship: Dissecting and Targeting Fibroblast Heterogeneity in

Pancreatic Cancer

PhD studentship : Dissecting and Targeting Fibroblast Heterogeneity in Pancreatic Cancer.

Department/location : Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute

Deadline for application : 14 November 2022

This is a unique opportunity for PhD study in the world-leading Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute (CRUK CI), to start a research career in an environment committed to training outstanding cancer research scientists of the future. The Institute has excellent state-of-the-art facilities and research ranges from basic biology and computational biology through to translational cancer research and clinical application.

Postgraduate students play a pivotal role in the continuing success of our research programmes. If you are interested in contributing to our success, please find further information at: https: // www. studentships/postgraduate-study

Dr Giulia Biffi wishes to recruit a student to work on the project entitled: Dissecting and Targeting Fibroblast Heterogeneity in Pancreatic Cancer

For further information about the research group, including their most recent publications, please visit their website at https: //

Project details

In pancreatic cancer, cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) have been shown to promote tumour growth, therapy resistance and immunosuppression by secreting ligands and extracellular matrix proteins. Recent evidence indicates that CAFs are characterised by different heterogeneous populations and that CAF composition changes with different cancer genetics. This project will determine the interplay between cancer cells and fibroblasts in pancreatic cancer with diverse tumour genetic landscapes with the goal to better stratify patients and design effective combinatorial targeting approaches. The research project will involve the use of in vivo organoid-derived transplantation mouse models and novel genetically engineered mouse models of pancreatic cancer, in vitro three-dimensional pancreatic tumour organoid/fibroblast co- culture models, in vitro and in vivo CRISPR-based technologies, bulk and single-cell RNA-sequencing, flow cytometry, multiplexed immunohistochemistry, RNA in situ hybridization, and standard molecular biology and biochemistry techniques.

Preferred skills/knowledge

Applicants are expected to have experience in tissue culture and molecular biology techniques (e.g. RNA/protein analyses). Experience in some of the areas mentioned in the project description (e.g. pancreatic cancer, mouse work, organoids, CRISPR, flow cytometry) would be highly desirable. The successful candidate must be strongly motivated to drive an independent research project, but also be a highly collaborative and kind individual.

Further Reading

Ohlund D, Handly-Santana A, Biffi G, Elyada E, et al. Distinct populations of inflammatory fibroblasts and myofibroblasts in pancreatic cancer. J Exp Med 2017;214(3):579-96.

Biffi G, et al. IL1-Induced JAK/STAT Signaling Is Antagonized by TGFbeta to Shape CAF Heterogeneity in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma. Cancer Discov 2019;9(2):282-301.

Biffi G. and Tuveson DA. Diversity and Biology of Cancer-associated Fibroblasts. Physiol Rev 2021. 101: 147-176.


This studentship is funded by Cancer Research UK and includes full funding for University and College fees and in addition, a stipend currently of £19,000 per annum, initially for 3 years, with funding for a further year possible as required.


No nationality restrictions apply to Cancer Research UK funded studentships. Applications are invited from recent graduates or final year undergraduates who hold or expect to gain a first/upper second-class degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject from any recognised university worldwide. Applicants with relevant research experience, gained through Master's study or while working in a laboratory, are strongly encouraged to apply.

How to apply

Please apply using the University Applicant Portal. For further information about the course and to access the applicant portal, go to: https: // www. Please select to commence study in Michaelmas term 2023 (October 2023).

To complete your online application, you need to provide the following:

Reference Request: The names and contact details of two academic referees who have agreed to act on your behalf.

Course Specific Question: Your statement of interest (limit of 2,500 characters) should explain why you wish to be considered for the studentship and which qualities and experience you will bring to the role. Please also state how you learned of the studentship.

Supporting Document: Please upload your CV (PDF file), which should include a list of the examinations taken at undergraduate level and if possible, your examination results.


The closing date for applications is 14 November 2022 with interviews expected to take place in the week beginning 16 January 2023.

Please quote reference SW33423 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.


Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, Cambridge






29 September 2022

Closing date

14 November 2022

From this employer

Recent blogs

Recent news