The Bio Micro Mechanics BMM Lab at the Department of Bioengineering of Imperial College is seeking a PhD candidate to explore the role of cell and tissue biomechanics in cancer.
90% of cancer associated deaths are a result of metastasis, a sequence of discrete events in which tumour cells escape primary tumours, use the cardiovascular & lymphatic systems as 'highways' to reach distant organs, where they grow into secondary tumours. Although the danger of metastasis is well known, we have a poor understanding of the mechanisms responsible for many steps in the metastatic cascade because observing & modifying cancer cell behaviours in animals is difficult. To overcome this challenge, we use microfluidics devices platforms fabricated with micron-scale features for handling nano-scale volumes of fluids that are typically coated with living cells as physical models of organ systems such as the microcirculation.
These organ-on-chip platforms are transparent and have mechanical and fluid environments that can be precisely tuned and manipulated making them ideal tools for studying microscale biomechanics. We study the interactions of mechanics fluids, forces and pressures and cancer biology cellular composition/function, gene expression, omics within these organ-on-chip platforms to develop a better understanding of the biomechanical mechanisms responsible for metastasis. These findings will be used to develop novel therapies to sabotage key steps of the metastatic cascade.
Many aspects of this project are based on new findings on the behaviour of circulating tumour cells in circulation, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:
To find out more about the lab and our research goals please visit us at http://biomicrotech.science/
Eligible candidates should be independently motivated, have good oral/written communication abilities, work well in teams and have obtained a master's merit or distinction or bachelor's 2.1 or first class degree in engineering, natural sciences or other relevant field. Laboratory experience and proficiency in biophysics, microfluidics/MEMS, cancer biology or computational simulations are highly desired.