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Characterisation of melanoma cell membranes to identify novel drug targets

Cell membrane structure and function are altered during tumour development, but to date comprehensive studies on the characterisation of cell membranes of a given cancer are scarce, or are only focused on a particular property (e.g. overall charge, global lipid composition, or specific lipid). In preliminary work we compared the lipidome (i.e. the lipid profile) of a panel of cells, and found the lipid composition of model melanoma cells to be distinct from that of other cancerous and non-cancerous cells. …

Study level
PhD
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

Immunotherapy for autoimmune disease using T cell receptor-modified T-regulatory cells

Autoimmune diseases affect approximately 5% of Australians. Well known examples include type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. These diseases have unpleasant, and sometimes tragic, consequences for the affected person and are a costly burden on our health system. As treatment is often limited to managing symptoms, new therapies for autoimmune diseases are much desired.Many autoimmune diseases are tightly associated with inheritance of a particular allele at the major histocompatibility complex (MHC, also called human leucocyte antigen or HLA). …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

PSA splice variant in prostate cancer diagnosis and pathogenesis

Current clinical prostate cancer screening is heavily reliant on measuring serum prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels. However, two-thirds of these men will not have cancer on biopsy and conversely, other prostate diseases. As a result, for ~75% of patients the large number of indolent tumours diagnosed has led to significant overtreatment creating an urgent need for appropriate prognostic assays that can distinguish indolent, slow growing tumours from the more aggressive and lethal phenotypes. PSA/KLK3 is a member of the tissue-kallikrein …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

A novel diagnostic test for lung transplant rejection – circulating cell-free methylated DNA

Lung transplantation is a complex medical procedure for those with advanced lung disease. Average survival following lung transplantation is shorter than for any other solid organ. The median survival time of a lung transplant recipient is only 8 years due to a high incidence (over 75% at 10 years) of chronic rejection (also called chronic lung allograft dysfunction – CLAD). The clinical course of CLAD is progressive with irreversible lung injury that ultimately leads to lung failure. The median survival …

Study level
PhD
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)
Centre for Genomics and Personalised Health

Strain-level characterisation and visualisation of microbial communities associated with inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic, relapsing inflammatory disorder driven by complex interactions between environmental, microbial and immune-mediated factors. An unfavourable shift in gut microbiome composition, known as dysbiosis, is now considered a key feature of IBD, however it is unclear how specific microorganisms and their interactions with host cells contribute to disease onset and progression. Previous IBD studies have been largely limited to older sequencing methods with low resolution. Furthermore, these studies have predominantly focused on bacterial populations, …

Study level
PhD
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

Development of bioengineered 3D tumour models for preclinical breast cancer research

3D organoid model technologies have led to the development of innovative tools for precision medicine in cancer treatment. Yet, the lack of resemblance to native tumours, and the limited ability to test drugs in a high-throughput mode, has limited translation to practice.This project will progress organoid models by using advanced tissue engineering technologies and high-throughput 3D bioprinting to recreate 'mini-tumours-in-a-dish' from a patient’s own tumour cells, and study the effects of various components of the tumour microenvironment on drug response.In …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)
Centre for Biomedical Technologies

Investigating immunosuppression downstream of activated FGFR2 in endometrial cancer

FGFR2 encodes two alternatively spliced isoforms that differ in their ligand binding domain and the combination of tissue specific expression of these isoforms and tissue specific expression of the FGF ligands is the foundation of normal paracrine signalling. Isoform switching from FGFR2b (inclusion of exon 8) to FGFR2c (inclusion of exon 9) occurs in tumorigenesis as it establishes an autocrine loop in epithelial cancer cells. Our lab has reported that FGFR2 activation by mutations or isoform switching is associated with …

Study level
PhD
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

Targeting a novel adaptive neovascular response of the tumour microenvironment to treat advanced prostate cancer

Prostate cancer (PCa) is a significant healthcare burden in Australia. Androgen signalling inhibition using androgen receptor (AR) antagonists is the principal systemic therapy for advanced PCa. Androgen receptors (AR) are an attractive therapeutic target due to their elevated expression in tumour epithelial cells and the retention of androgen signalling throughout the disease continuum.However, patients eventually develop resistance to treatment, and PCa cells metastasise to distant bone and visceral organs, representing an incurable stage of the disease. Understanding mechanisms that contribute …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

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