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Epigenetic therapy using ultrasound-mediated microbubble drug delivery for cancer treatment

PGR-P-152

Key facts

Type of research degree
4 year PhD
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (outside UK)
Funding
Non-funded
Supervisors
Dr Elizabeth Valleley
Additional supervisors
Dr Louise Coletta
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

The project is an interdisciplinary, pre-clinical study that aims to investigate the response of human tumour cells to treatment with epigenetic inhibitors (such as DNA methyltransferase inhibitors), as a potential combination therapy for colorectal cancer (CRC). As epigenetic modifications contribute to tumour growth, drugs that modify the epigenome have great potential for cancer therapy. Epigenetic drugs have the capability to target cancer stem cells, restore sensitivity of tumour cells to chemotherapy or to prime tumours prior to secondary treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>Tumour cell lines will be tested for response to combination drug treatments using 2D/3D cell culture and other models. Microbubbles will be generated using the University of Leeds patented microfluidic system, and could be combined with liposomes containing encapsulated drugs. Novel cancer models or therapeutic microbubbles could be developed further for targeted drug delivery. Our long-term aim is for ultrasound-triggered microbubble delivery to deliver drugs more efficiently to tumours, to enhance therapeutic response and to minimize off-target side effects.</p> <p>You will work closely with members of other groups at the University of Leeds including Professor&nbsp;Evans&rsquo; group in the School of Physics and Astronomy. The project will involve training in a wide variety of techniques and research skills. These may include mammalian cell culture, drug testing using monolayer or spheroid/organoid cell culture, molecular biology and cell biology techniques to monitor epigenetic biomarkers of response, generation and testing of functional microbubbles in cancer models and drug delivery using ultrasound.</p> <p>You will be trained as part of an established, interdisciplinary team of clinicians, academics and research scientists-&nbsp;<a href="http://www.microbubbles.leeds.ac.uk/">the Leeds Microbubble Consortium</a>- that includes PhD researchers from other Schools in the University.</p> <p>This project is part of the <a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/leeds-institute-research-st-james/doc/international-phd-academy-medical-research">International PhD Academy: Medical Research</a>.</p> <p><strong>In line with the bespoke nature of our International PhD Academy a modified PhD project can be proposed dependent on students interests and background.</strong></p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Please note these are not standalone projects and applicants must apply to the PhD academy directly.</p> <p>Applications can be made at any time. To apply for this project applicants should complete an <a href="http://www.leeds.ac.uk/info/130206/applying/91/applying_for_research_degrees">online application form</a> and submit this&nbsp;alongside a full academic CV, degree transcripts (or marks so far if still studying) and degree certificates. Please make it clear in the research information section that you are applying for the International PhD Academy: Medical Research, as well as the title of the project you wish to be considered for.</p> <p>We also require 2 academic references to support your application. Please ask your referees to send these <a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/downloads/download/130/faculty_graduate_school_-_scholarship_reference_form">references</a> on your behalf, directly to <a href="mailto:fmhpgradmissions@leeds.ac.uk">fmhpgradmissions@leeds.ac.uk</a></p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

A degree in biological sciences, dentistry, medicine, midwifery, nursing, psychology or a good honours degree in a subject relevant to the research topic. A Masters degree in a relevant subject may also be required in some areas of the Faculty. For entry requirements for all other research degrees we offer, please contact us.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. The Faculty of Medicine and Health minimum requirements in IELTS and TOEFL tests for PhD, MSc, MPhil, MD are: &acirc;&euro;&cent; British Council IELTS - score of 7.0 overall, with no element less than 6.5 &acirc;&euro;&cent; TOEFL iBT - overall score of 100 with the listening and reading element no less than 22, writing element no less than 23 and the speaking element no less than 24.

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information please contact the Graduate School Office.<br /> e:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:fmhpgradmissions@leeds.ac.uk">fmhpgradmissions@leeds.ac.uk</a>, t: +44 (0)113 343 8221</p>


<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>