A 4 year PhD studentship with Dr Susan Farrington and Dr Carmel Moran at the University of Edinburgh.

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in UK. Treatment is dominated by major surgery because current imaging modalities cannot accurately determine lymph node involvement or vascular invasion. Although potentially curative, surgery carries high risk of short- and long-term morbidity including stoma formation. Optimized pre-treatment imaging would decrease the number of patients requiring major surgery.

Magnetomotive ultrasound (MMUS) is an emerging technique that combines the advantages of non-invasive, non-ionising, low cost and portable ultrasound, with the advantages of nanoparticles for molecular imaging. In this project super-paramagnetic iron-oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) will be injected close to tumours and will accumulate in the lymph. Subsequent displacement of the SPION-loaded lymph by an external magnetic field will be measured using an ultrasound field resulting in high resolution images of displacement and fine delineation of structure. Displacement is influenced by tissue elasticity and SPION density. Since pathology indicative of cancer progression is known to alter tissue elasticity and SPION uptake, the approach holds significant potential to non-invasively image tumour development.

The multidisciplinary team are looking to recruit a dynamic PhD student to help establish a novel in-vivo model of anorectal adenocarcinoma within the preclinical imaging facility and assess these new imaging modalities in vivo. Students should have at least or expect to obtain a good upper second or first class degree in a biological based subject. Applicants should send a covering letter, stating why they are interested in the project, along with an up-to-date CV, which includes two academic referees to Alana.Johnson@ed.ac.uk by 15th Sept 2017.

Academic and informal enquiries can also be sent to Dr Susan Farrington – Susan.Farrington@ed.ac.uk and Dr Carmel Moran – Carmel.Moran@ed.ac.uk

For details of this project, go to https://www.findaphd.com/search/ProjectDetails.aspx?PJID=87977