Anna Reynard, Biomedical Science graduate at Hull Royal Infirmary

New strategies for improving radiotherapy response in bowel cancer


Funded PhD (home/UK)


3 years (full-time)

Application deadline:

17:00 on 2 july 2021

About this project

This exciting project funded by Bowel Research UK will investigate the use of clinically relevant targeted therapies as potential novel radiotherapy sensitisers in low oxygen (hypoxia) in colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer accounts for over 10% of worldwide cancer diagnoses, with high incidence and mortality, and the presence of regions of hypoxia in tumours remain a clear obstacle in treatment for this disease.

You will join a growing and experienced research team led by Dr Isabel Pires, who has published extensively on the field of tumour hypoxia and radiobiology. This project will be closely aligned to the Adaptive Radiotherapy PhD studentship cluster at the University of Hull (also led by Dr Pires), where you will have the opportunity to engage with experts in the field of radiotherapy, molecular imaging, and clinical oncology, including the project co-supervisor Dr Rajarshi Roy, who is a Consultant Clinical Oncologist at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Furthermore, this project will involve as collaborators leading academics from the University of Oxford and the University of Copenhagen. As part of the excellent training environment offered at the Department of Biomedical Sciences and the University of Hull, you will join our thriving postgraduate researcher community, including weekly seminars and a supportive postgraduate training scheme, as well as extensive laboratory training in tumour hypoxia biology and radiobiology techniques. For this, you will have access to our extensive research infrastructure, including 2D and 3D in vitro models of radiation response, specialised hypoxia facilities, and our unique NPL (National Physics Laboratory)-validated irradiator.

We are looking for a highly motivated, enthusiastic, detail-oriented candidate who will have a solid knowledge base and laboratory experience in cell biology and molecular biology, and, ideally, knowledge on cancer biology and relevant laboratory experience. You must also be willing to work in a multi-disciplinary project and research environment.

About the research group

The PI and primary supervisor, Dr Isabel Pires, is a Lecturer in Biomedical Science at the University of Hull, Department of Biomedical Sciences. Dr Pires’ lab is focused on the understanding of tumour hypoxia biology and its implication for tumourigenesis, therapy, and metastatic spread. Dr Rajarshi Roy (Co-I and co-supervisor) is a Consultant Clinical Oncologist at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and specialises in the treatment of Colorectal and Upper GI cancers and cancers of unknown primary origin. Our collaborators Dr. Marie Kveiborg (University of Copenhagen) and Professor Ester Hammond (University of Oxford) will also provide additional expertise and support to the project. Importantly, this project closely aligns to the Adaptive Radiotherapy PhD cluster at the University of Hull, led by Dr Pires as PI. This cluster is aimed at sharing and expanding expertise in the radiotherapy field at Hull, and the student will greatly benefit from the synergies associate to this collaborative cluster. The student will have the opportunity to engage with experts from a wide variety of areas, both at Department level, and with the Adaptive Radiotherapy cluster members.

Contact Dr Isabel Pires for more information about this project.

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. 

Find out more

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. 

Find out more


The successful applicant will receive a fee waiver and a maintenance grant/stipend for three years, which covers the research period of the PhD. The fee waiver for 21/22 is £4500 (Home fee) and the maintenance grant is £15609. This rises each year in line with the UKRI’s recommended stipend allowance.

Submission of thesis

Submission of your final thesis is expected within three years and three months from the start of your PhD scholarship.

If you need to move into a fourth year to complete your thesis, please note that you will not receive a tuition fee waiver or maintenance grant during this period.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have either a minimum of 2i undergraduate degree Biomedical Science, Cancer Biology, Biochemistry, or a related discipline with relevant experience, or have a Masters-level qualification in a relevant discipline. Experience in cancer biology laboratory techniques is desirable, but other relevant experience may also be considered.

International applicants

This opportunity comes with a Home fee waiver only.