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Understanding tumour mechanics: advancing organ-on-chip flatforms

PGR-P-520

Key facts

Type of research degree
PhD
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Funding
Non-funded
Supervisors
Dr Sally Peyman
Schools
School of Physics and Astronomy
Research groups/institutes
Molecular and Nanoscale Physics
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

The mechanics of diseases such as cancer is becoming a fast moving area of research. The mechanical cues that cells and tissues receive can drive disease progression and lead to drug resistance in solid tumours. Current methods for testing drugs in the lab do so on monolayers or 3D cultures of cells that do not fully take into account the mechanical microenvironment of cells and therefore do not encompass these vastly important physical barriers to drug delivery. This project will involve the measurement and investigation into how cells remodel their environment in solid tumours to become mechanically stiff and how this provides a barrier to drug delivery. The project will develop new microfluidic &amp;lsquo;organ-on-chip&amp;rsquo; platforms to model these physical properties, with the aim of investigating new therapeutic routes that breakdown the mechanically stiff environment of tumours to improve drug delivery.

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

<p>The mechanics of diseases such as cancer is becoming a fast moving area of research. The mechanical cues that cells and tissues receive can drive disease progression and lead to drug resistance in solid tumours. The stiff, scar-like environment of tumours can resist penetration of drugs into the tumour and in addition, the high interstitial fluid pressure can drive any drugs out. Current methods for testing drugs in the lab do so on monolayers or 3D cultures of cells that do not fully take into account the mechanical microenvironment of cells and therefore do not encompass these vastly important physical barriers to drug delivery.</p> <p>This project will use specialised instrumentation such as Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and rheology to measure and investigate into how cells remodel their environment in solid tumours to become mechanically stiff and how this provides a barrier to drug resistance. Other, newly developed methods for probing the mechanical properties of cells and tissues, such as deformation cytometry, will also be used. The project will ultimately design and develop new microfluidic &lsquo;organ-on-chip&rsquo; platforms to model these physical properties, based on the understanding gained through &lsquo;off-chip&rsquo; measurements for testing new drugs. A priority being the investigation of new therapeutic routes that breakdown the mechanically stiff environment of tumours to improve drug delivery.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

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

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.leeds.ac.uk/rsa/prospective_students/apply/I_want_to_apply.html">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 &lsquo;Understanding tumour mechanics: advancing organ-on-chip flatforms&rsquo; as well as&nbsp;<a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/physics/staff/4125/dr-sally-a-peyman">Dr Sally Peyman</a> 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>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</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><strong>Self Funding applicants are welcome to apply.</strong></p> <p><strong>UK</strong>&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/138-leeds-doctoral-scholarships-2021-january-deadline">Leeds Doctoral Scholarship (January deadline)</a>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/141-henry-ellison-scholarship-2021">Henry Ellison Scholarship</a>&nbsp;are available to UK applicants. The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/102-bell-burnell-scholarship-award-awarded-by-the-iop">Bell Burnell Scholarship Award</a>&nbsp;is available to support applicants who are from groups that are currently under-represented in physics (awarded by the IOP).&nbsp; <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/60-alumni-bursary">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>Non-UK</strong>&nbsp;&ndash; The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/63-school-of-physics-astronomy-fee-only-scholarship">School of Physics &amp; Astronomy Fee Only Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to support the additional academic fees of international applicants. The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/48-china-scholarship-council-university-of-leeds-scholarships-2021">China Scholarship Council - University of Leeds Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to nationals of China. The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/73-leeds-marshall-scholarship">Leeds Marshall Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to support US citizens. The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/102-bell-burnell-scholarship-award-awarded-by-the-iop">Bell Burnell Scholarship Award</a>&nbsp;is also available to international applicants and supports those who are from groups that are currently under-represented in physics (awarded by the IOP). <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/60-alumni-bursary">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p>

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

<p>For further information please contact Doctoral College Admissions by&nbsp;email:&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="mailto:maps.pgr.admissions@leeds.ac.uk">maps.pgr.admissions</a><a href="mailto:EMAIL@leeds.ac.uk">@leeds.ac.uk</a>&nbsp;or by&nbsp;telephone: +44 (0)113 343 5057</p>


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