Development and validation of a 3D pancreatic cancer cell organoid system for radiation response studies to support advanced radiotherapy

The proposed project aims to optimise an advanced polymer based 3D bioinspired pancreatic cancer scaffolding system and to investigate the response of the scaffolding system to advanced radiotherapy modalities using a wide range of measurement and simulation techniques.

Application deadline
Funding information

The scholarship is based on the RCUK rates. For the academic year commencing October 2018 this is £14,777 per annum for stipend (tax free maintenance grant) and £4,260 per annum for fees (these are full time rates, part time rates are £7,388.50 and £2,130 respectively). RCUK increases these values annually in line with a GDP deflator.

About

Ionising radiation is one of the most effective therapies for cancer treatment. There have been several recent technical developments in radiotherapy, with current interest turning to the use of proton beams and the incorporation of magnetic resonance (MR) facilities into radiotherapy units. Aside from the clear dosimetric and diagnostic advantages of such approaches, the biological response of cancer cells and tissues exposed to such radiation conditions is not fully understood and accounted for in treatment planning.  Clustering of ionization at the micrometre and nanometre scale and change in the yield of reactive radical species which occurs at low proton energy and potentially in the presence of strong magnetic fields need to be accurately investigated to optimize radiotherapy treatments and reduce risks. Moreover, there is the need to improve our knowledge of radiation response in 3D systems were cell-to-cell interaction plays a critical role which may be affected by radiation quality and presence of strong magnetic fields. 

The proposed project aims to optimise an advanced polymer based 3D bioinspired pancreatic cancer scaffolding system and to investigate the response of the scaffolding system to advanced radiotherapy modalities using a wide range of measurement and simulation techniques. This will allow a greater understanding of the potential benefits and risks of advanced radiotherapy modalities such as MR-guided RT and proton therapy and make prediction for future options for their clinical delivery  The proposal is multidisciplinary across tissue engineering, biology and physics giving the student insight and opportunity to gain unique expertise in the areas of bio-engineering, preclinical research, dosimetry and radiation biology focussed on one of the top cancer priorities (pancreatic tumour).

The student will join a multidisciplinary cross-institutional (University of Surrey, Royal Surrey County Hospital, National Physical Laboratory) research team. The student will benefit from experience in the clinical environment through direct contact with the medical physics team at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, cell biology, radiobiology and dosimetry training as well as tissue engineering principles and biomaterial characterisation at the University of Surrey and NPL. 

Related links
Royal Surrey County Hospital National Physical Laboratory

Eligibility criteria

Candidates should have a background and interest in medical physics, bioprocess engineering, biomaterials, cancer cell biology or equivalent. Open to European/UK students only.

How to apply

To apply, please send your CV and cover letter to Dr Eirini Velliou and Prof Andrew Nisbet and apply to our Physics PhD.

Please state the project title and supervisors clearly on all applications – preferably as part of the project title.

Interviews will be held on 27 July, 1 August, 7 August and 9 August 2018 (Skype interviews are also possible).


Application deadline

Contact details

Eirini Velliou
29 BC 02
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 686577
E-mail: e.velliou@surrey.ac.uk

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