Dynamic tumour heterogeneity in melanoma therapy: exploring this using a novel model system

Associate Professor Nikolas Haass is a clinician scientist specializing in skin cancers. His team specialize in three-dimensional cell culture models, which recreate the correct interactions of the melanoma with its tumour microenvironment and thus predict the effects of drugs on the tumour in a much better way than the conventional two-dimensional cell culture models. His team apply cutting-edge intravital multi-photon microscopy.

In this project students will work with Assoc. Prof. Haass’s model to identify what causes acquired multidrug tol­erance in melanoma. Using the Fluorescent ubiquitination-based cell cycle indicator (FUCCI)-system, cutting edge imaging technology, participants will explore the biology of dynamic heterogeneity, which is critical for the develop­ment of novel melanoma treatment strategies such as drug sensitivity and resistance.

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DNA breast cancer gene mutations and genome rearrangement

Dr. Eloise Dray's team are researching genome mutations in breast cancer patients. Some cancer cells have what is called a ‘hot’ genome. It means that they accumulate mutations at a higher rate than normal cells, which not only contributes to the cancer phenotype but also makes the cells become resistant to treatment.

In this project, students will visualize the chromosomes of various breast cancer cells lines, and cells containing patient mutations, to investigate whether their genome undergoes physical rearrangement as they grow in normal media or after treatment with drugs. 

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Turning off the Immune response in Rheumatoid Arthritis sufferers: investigating anti-collagen II (AC II) antibodies

Professor Ranjeny Thomas and her team are developing treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) sufferers to target and turn off the immune response to specific self-antigens, such as citrullinated peptides or collagen II. In this project students will test  anti-collagen II antibodies in patients with RA and at-risk relatives, and determine whether they are produced at higher levels in patients carrying HLA-DRB1 RA-susceptibility genes. View more information.

Purifying the guardian of your genome hSSB1 

Associate Professor Derek Richard’s team are investigating the cellular processes that allow cells to cope with genomic stress and how these processes are modified in disease. This research centres on the initial basic discoveries of how these processes function in normal cells to prevent disease, and then how these pathways go wrong in diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.  In this project students will work with researchers from Associate Professor Derek Richard’s team to amplify and purify the human protein hSSB1 for use in experiments that will address how this protein functions at the molecular level within our cells. View more information and resources.