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Role of primary cilia in lung carcinogenesis (partially funded MPhil)

This is an MPhil Project only. Bench Fees will be covered.

Cilia are antennae-like sensory organelles that detect mechanical and chemical stimuli. The physiological importance of cilia is highlighted by the existence of a number of developmental disorders caused by ciliary defects. These disorders are known as ciliopathies and can result in cognitive impairment, hearing loss, heart and lung defects, sterility, obesity, diabetes and cancer. In 2018, my laboratory showed for the first time that primary cilia mediate a number of drug resistance mechanisms in pre-clinical lung cancer models (Jenks et al, 2018). Notably, inhibiting cilia function sensitizes lung cancer cells to clinical kinase inhibitors, providing a rationale for targeting cilia as a therapeutic strategy.

This project aims to further dissect mechanistically the role of cilia in drug resistance in lung cancer models. Furthermore, given that drug resistance mechanisms such as the activation of epithelial-to-mesenchymal-transition programmes promote metastasis, we will also explore the role of cilia in promoting cell invasion.

This project will explore the hypothesis that cilia can drive the activation of specific oncogenic signalling pathways that promote drug resistance and cell invasion in lung cancer. Expected outcomes We will characterise the role of primary cilia on modulating oncogenic signalling pathways in drug-resistant lung-cancer cells. Additionally, we will examine the role of cilia in invasion in lung cancer models, including lung cancer on chip invasion models.

Further reading

Primary cilia mediate diverse kinase inhibitor resistance mechanisms in cancer. 2018. Andrew D. Jenks, Simon Vyse, Jocelyn P. Wong, Deborah Keller, Tom Burgoyne, Amelia Shoemark, Maike de la Roche, Martin Michaelis, Jindrich Cinatl, Paul H. Huang and Barbara E. Tanos. 2018. Cell Reports. 2018 Jun 5;23(10):3042-3055. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.05.016.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a partially funded topic

This is an MPhil Project only. Bench Fees will be covered.