Projects & Supervisors

Great mentoring and excellent research opportunities

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Edinburgh and Glasgow host multiple research groups that are active in a broad spectrum of biomedical disciplines covering the full bench-to-bedside and bedsite-to-bench ranges. Our basic, translational and clinical studies are often performed in a collaborative and cross-disciplinary way. Consequently, the TRACC Programme offers a multitude of project opportunities - many of them involving teams from both cities. Although available projects will vary from year to year and will be tailored to fit interests of the TRACC Programme Fellows some representative example projects are listed in the table below.

Potential project title(s)

Details of project / themes

Colorectal cancer: from risk to treatment and prevention
  • Targeting APC deficient stem cells
  • Understanding and exploiting the genetics and mechanistic basis of prevention
  • Modelling "bad actor" lesions
  • New treatments for CRC

Supervisor teams: Malcolm Dunlop (surgeon, genetics), Kevin Myant (mechanisms), Owen Sansom (biology, preclinical models), Richard Wilson (medical oncologist, trials)

Colorectal cancer and precision oncology: CRUK Accelerator Award in CRC (encompassing leading centres in UK and Europe); CRUK/MRC funded S:CORT programme; Utilising strengths in genetics and preclinical models (and infrastructure for preclinical trials available at CRUK BI)

Addressing key strategic aims: Early Cancer Biology; Prevention

Brain Cancer: modelling disease biology and treatment

  • Deciphering glioblastoma biology in new disease models
  • New treatments for brain cancer

Supervisor teams: Steven Pollard, Margaret Frame, Noor Gammoh (all biology), Anthony Chalmers (radiation, trials)

Brain cancer disease modelling/treatment: CRUK Glioma Accelerator Award; Centre of Excellence (CoE) to Edinburgh (with UCL); 7MRI imaging development in Glasgow

Addressing key strategic aim: Brain Cancer

Innate immunity in cancer
  • Epigenetic reprogramming of neutrophils in glioblastoma and lung cancer
  • Investigating the role of myeloid cells in responsiveness to immunotherapy in ovarian cancer and glioblastoma
  • Understanding the role of neutrophils in fatty liver disease, HCC and colangiocarcinoma

Supervisor teams: Alan Serrels, Sarah Walmsley, Moira Whyte, Jeff Pollard, Gerry Graham, Iain McInnes, Rob Nibbs, Seth Coffelt, Bin-Zhi Quan (all immunobiology), Leo Carlin (imaging), Andrew Jackson (genetic determinants of innate immunity in cancer), Owen Sansom, Tom Bird, Stuart Forbes

Cancer immunology, immunotherapy, innate immunity: Utilising strengths of mouse models / imaging infrastructure at CRUK BI; Hepatocellular carcinoma is a joint focus of our Centres - part of HUNTER Accelerator Award (Newcastle)

Addressing key strategic aim: Role of the Immune System in Cancer

Informatics / computational biology/mathematics (AI, ML)
  • Phenotypic classification of tumours by Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Investigations of oncogenesis using single cell RNA- and DNA-sequencing
  • Understanding cancer determinants and response using health informatics

Supervisor teams: Rob Insall, Crispin Miller, Jill Pell, Cathie Sudlow, Chris Ponting, Colin Semple

Data-driven innovation: Rob Insall (CRUK Gla Centre) leads a "mathematical cancer biology, deep learning and AI" initiative; Chris Ponting leads IGC (incl. CRUK Ed Centre) Informatics core (120 bioinformaticians) and cross-disciplinary training in handling 'big data'; Cathie Sudlow and Jill Pell lead the Scottish node of HDR-UK (Health Data Research Institute-UK); This project will work closely with SpecifiCancer Grand Challenge team on cell type specific oncogenesis

Addressing key strategic aim: Understanding Cancer via data-driven innovation


Cancer Mechanisms

  • Senescence-associated lipid and cell cycle control
  • Distinct metabolic dependencies in cancer
  • Role of tumour microenvironment in invasive cancer

Supervisor teams: Juan Carlos Acosta, Simon Wilkinson, Alan Serrels, Val Brunton, Joanne Edwards, Jim Norman, Laura Machesky, Martin Bushell, Kevin Ryan, Stephen Tait

Metabolism, stress, microenvironment/metastasis/recurrence: There is a focus on metastasis and the microenvironment in both Centres; Glasgow has strength in metabolism, and this will interface with Edinburgh's Brain Cancer CoE and metastasis models

Addressing key strategic aim: Cancer Hallmarks and Mechanisms

Precision oncology
  • Genomic-led ovarian cancer therapy
  • Novels ways to stratify pancreatic cancer patients
  • Targeting the foetal co-drivers of infant leukaemia
  • Cell-free DNA methylation in cancer

Supervisor teams: Charlie Gourley, Patricia Roxburgh, Mhairi Copland, Katrin Ottersbach, Elaine Dzierzak, Andrew Biankin, David Chang.

Includes work with the Rosetta Grand Challenge team; Glasgow leads the PRECISION-Panc network for the UK; Edinburgh (Charlie Gourley)-Glasgow leads SGP/AstraZeneca ovarian cancer sequencing and precision oncology

Addressing key strategic aim: Precision Medicine, Stem Cells and Pancreatic Cancer