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Exploring the role of obesity in cancer immune resistance


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Project start date
Monday 1 January 2024
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Dr Giorgia Cioccoloni
School of Food Science and Nutrition
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Cancer cells can evade the immune system's defenses, allowing tumour growth and spreading. Immune cells known as Cytotoxic T-cells are crucial for identifying and eliminating these cancer cells. However, in the process of tumor development, these T-cells can become 'exhausted,' losing their ability to effectively combat cancer. This phenomenon leads to what we call cancer immune resistance. Interestingly, obesity might play a significant role in aiding cancer's ability to evade the immune response. While multiple studies suggest a connection between obesity and immune resistance in cancer, we lack detailed understanding of the mechanisms behind this relationship.<br /> <br /> During this PhD, you will delve into the intricate mechanisms through which obesity impacts the immune system's effectiveness against cancer. Employing a diverse set of laboratory techniques&mdash;including 3D co-cultures, real-time live-cell Aanalysis, RNASeq, ChIpSeq&mdash;you will investigate the specific molecular pathways connecting obesity to cancer's immune resistance, providing insights into novel approaches for inhibiting cancer growth and progression.

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

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is <strong>Exploring the role of obesity in cancer immune resistance</strong> as well as&nbsp;<span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:normal"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><strong><a href="" style="color:#0563c1; text-decoration:underline">Dr Giorgia Cioccoloni</a></strong></span></span></span>&nbsp;as your proposed supervisor.</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> <p><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p>

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

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

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

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p>This project is currently not funded so if you are interested you will also need to apply for a Scholarship to fund your studies (to include your living costs, University fees, and experimental costs. If you think you may be eligible for one of the following Scholarships, please speak to the project lead, Dr Giorgia Cioccoloni, for further information.</p> <ol type="1"> <li>You intend to apply for a PhD Sholarship for UK under-represented groups ( (UK applicants).</li> <li>You will apply to the Leeds Doctoral Scholarship scheme (;query=Leeds+doctoral+scholarship) deadline (UK applicants).</li> <li>You are eligable and intend to apply for a Leeds Sanctuary Scholarship (;(overseas student now resident in the UK).</li> <li>You have secured a Scholarship to study for a PhD from your home country and are seeking a host laboratory in the UK (overseas&nbsp;applicants).</li> <li>You are eligable and intend to apply for a Chinese Scholarship Council award and are seeking a host laboratory (overseas applicants).</li> <li>You are a self-funding student (UK or overseas).</li> </ol> <p>Please note &ndash; different schemes have different application&nbsp;deadlines.</p>

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

<p>For further information please contact the the Environment Admissions Team: or&nbsp;<span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:normal"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><a href="" style="color:#0563c1; text-decoration:underline">Dr Giorgia Cioccoloni</a>:;</span></span></span></p>

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