Director of Studies:
Dr Mahmoud Labib
Professor Oliver Hanemann
3rd Supervisor: Dr Elizabeth Lim (email@example.com)
Dr Matt Jones
Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1 October 2024.
Up to 55% of the patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) develop brain metastases with a median survival of 2–3 and 4–6 months in untreated and treated patients, respectively. Due to the location of metastatic lesions, surgical resection is limited, and chemotherapy is quite ineffective due to the blood brain barrier. It is thus crucial to identify patients at higher risk for brain metastasis at an early stage. Brain metastasis has been ascribed to the presence of subsets of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) that transmigrate through the blood brain barrier and thrive in the brain. No definitive signature genes for brain metastasis have been identified in CTCs from NSCLC due to the lack of validated markers or strategies to isolate these cells. In this project we will deploy a microfluidics-based cell sorting platform to isolate CTCs from a cohort of NSCLC patients with brain metastasis. Isolated CTCs will be subjected to comprehensive gene expression profiling to identify the signature genes of brain metastasis. Consequently, we will develop a microfluidics-based cell profiling platform to analyse the proteins encoded by the signature genes in CTCs collected from NSCLC patients and subsequently identify patients at higher risk for brain metastasis.