Group: Transcriptional Networks in Lung Cancer
Group Leader: Michela Garofalo
Project Title: Elucidating the role of the tumour microenvironment in non-small
cell lung cancer
This 4 year PhD studentship offered in Dr Michela Garofalo’s group is based at the Manchester Cancer Research Centre [MCRC], South Manchester
The tumour microenvironment plays a crucial role in tumour progression, clinical prognosis and treatment responses of cancer. Thus, a deeper understanding of the dynamic relationship between the expanding tumour and the surrounding tissue is a key factor for the development of new successful therapeutic strategies.
Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are a major cellular constituent of the tumour stroma, and their interaction with cancer cells is implicated in various aspects of tumour biology. For example, CAFs can promote growth, invasion and metastasis of cancer cells. However, our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms involved in the cell-cell communication between cancer cells and CAFs is still limited. Accumulating evidence shows that tumour cells communicate with stromal cells in the microenvironment via secretion of microvesicles containing miRNAs. MiRNAs are small noncoding RNA molecules that regulate gene expression at post-transcriptional level and their exchange between cancer cells and CAFs can alter the expression profiles of CAFs to favour the progression of cancer.
By using 2D and 3D in vitro culture systems as well as pre-clinical models of lung cancer, we aim to elucidate the mechanisms of the interactions between cancer cells and CAFs and further explore the biological implication of the transfer of miRNAs between cancer cells and the surrounding stroma, with the final goal to identify new therapeutic targets in lung cancer.
This position is funded by Cancer Research UK for the 4 year duration. The successful candidate will join the CRUK Manchester Institute & will be affiliated to the University of Manchester on the same studentship terms and conditions as all CRUK MI students.
The successful applicant will be awarded a non-taxable & national insurance free annual stipend of £19,000/annum plus payment of university tuition and bench fees.
Closing date: Monday 3 December 2018 – 17:00 hrs GMT.
Interview date: Monday 14 January 2019, Alderley Park, Cheshire.