Lab on a Chip

Developing tissue-on-chip technology as a platform to measure the response of brain tumours to established therapy and novel drugs




3 years

Application deadline:

Tuesday 31 May 2020

About this project

Brain tumour biopsies maintained on-chip provide a platform that can enable fundamental investigations of novel diagnostic and clinically relevant treatment strategies, based on novel drugs and directed at individual tumours. The overarching aim of this project is to assess the effect of treating brain tumour biopsies, maintained in a novel microfluidic device, with established and new therapies and to investigate the mechanisms underlying that effect.

You will use aseptic techniques, including cell culture and microfluidics, to maintain brain tumour biopsies and you will analyse the effect of drugs on biopsies using a range of techniques such as immunohistochemistry, western blotting, and other biochemistry and molecular biology analysis.

This is a collaboration between the University of Hull and the University of Leeds, funded by Brain Tumour Research and Support across Yorkshire (BTRS). You will be based at the University of Hull under the primary supervision of Dr Pedro Beltran-Alvarez and you will have joint second supervisors in Dr Mark Wade (University of Hull) and Dr Lucy Stead (University of Leeds).

The University of Hull is the 14th oldest University in England and the Faculty of Health Sciences is based at the award-winning Allam Medical Building. The Faculty enables us to thrive in an outstanding research environment which has seen an investment of £28 million in the last few years. We enjoy fantastic research facilities including microfluidics, microscopy, mass spectrometry, PET imaging and flow cytometry. You will join the Brain Tumour Research Group, which is headed by Prof John Greenman and brings together a unique concentration of expertise in cancer biochemistry, genetics and epigenetics, neurosurgery, immunology, biomarkers and therapeutic targets. The mission of the Brain Tumour Research Group is to investigate novel biomarkers, therapeutic targets and optimal treatment of brain tumours to enable earlier diagnosis, improved treatment and enhanced patient quality and quantity of life.

The research project has been designed jointly by the Hull and Leeds brain tumour research groups and builds on years of previous work at both sites. The PhD student will be trained to the highest standards to be a leader in the field.

The University's Postgraduate Training Scheme (PGTS) provides a range of generic and discipline-specific modules to support research students through their programme.

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The library has an exclusive lounge for postgraduate research students and a dedicated Skills Team to provide a wide range of study and research skills help. 

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The Doctoral College provides support to postgraduate research students. Offering skills development opportunities and dedicated facilities, the college is here to help you achieve your potential. 

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Research at Hull tackles big challenges and makes an impact on lives globally, every day. Our current research portfolio spans everything from health to habitats, food to flooding and supply chain the slavery.

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This is a funded scholarship over a three year period. The funding you receive will cover the fees for your PhD programme at the UK student level only (please note that fees for international students are much higher) and also an annual maintenance grant (£15,009 per year), depending on satisfactory progress. There is also funding for consumables.

There is an optional writing up period if you need to complete your thesis after the three year period of your research degree, for which there is a small charge. Your maintenance grant will not cover you during this optional writing up period.

Entry requirements

Applicants for this project should have a first class undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences, ideally with relevant research experience. A 2:1 may be considered if combined with relevant experience. A Masters degree would also be an advantage but is not a requirement.