Masters Opportunity

Master of Research studentship:

Identification of an immuno-oncology tumour microenvironment in prostate cancer biopsies that predict aggressive disease

About the Project:

The early and accurate diagnosis and prognosis of prostate cancer is crucial for effective treatment strategies. It is imperative to select patients who have aggressive disease as early as possible and therefore to quickly initiate their treatment. Current treatment regimens are extremely aggressive and patients suffer from resultant side-effects that lead to multiple morbidities. It is therefore also of high importance to not over-treat patients with a good prognosis and who will survive their disease without such treatment.

This project will investigate whether there are cellular features and densities pertaining to the infiltrating immune cells within the tumour’s microenvironment that inform on patient prognosis. Equally the project will quantify how the cancer cell subpopulations spatially interact with the immune cells and if this also reflects on disease aggression.

Tissue sections from Pre-treatment biopsies will be collated from multiple biobanks These sections will be labelled via multi-plexed immunofluorescence to visualise immune and cancer cell subpopulations. Automated image analysis algorithms will be applied to digitised immunofluorescence labelled samples whereupon cellular densities and spatial interactions will be quantified. The data extracted by the image analysis algorithms will then be collated into a novel prognostic model for prostate cancer.

The successful student will be based in the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews and will have access to state of the art equipment and software to prepare and analyse the patient samples. All laboratory and data analysis training will be provided by the project supervisors.

Supervision team:

The primary supervisor will be Dr Peter Caie (https://risweb.standrews.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/peter-david-caie(1b3c3768-5b14-4b22-9b70-7b1265f2bd23).html) with secondary supervision by Professor Andy Lynch (https://risweb.st-andrews.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/andy-lynch(1e0d86ab-7cfe-46b4-b158-87d385d62cf2).html).

Funding:

The project will be entered into a competitive process, which if successful, will result in full Home/EU student fees and research consumables being award to the successful student.

Entry requirements:

The student will have experience in relevant molecular and cellular biology or histology laboratory techniques and will have gained an upper-class 2nd or 1st honours degree classification, or equivalent,

How to apply :
In the first instance, applicants should submit a CV and covering letter to Peter Caie pdc5@st-andrews.ac.uk and Andy Lynch andy.lynch@st-andrews.ac.uk

For further details on the project or informal enquiries please contact Andy Lynch andy.lynch@st-andrews.ac.uk or Peter Caie pdc5@st-andrews.ac.uk