PhD Studentship: Investigation of inhibitory roles of special human plasma in the proliferation of cancer cells

University of the Highlands and Islands - Department of Diabetes and Cardiovascular Science

Funding: UK, EU & International students
Funding amount: UK/EU fees & stipend (RCUK rate) for 42 months

Cancer is a major public health issue worldwide and constitutes an enormous burden on healthcare providers and society. According to the latest global cancer statistics, 14.1 million new cases and 8.2 million deaths occurred in 2012. The occurrence of cancer is increasing due to the growth and aging of the population. So there is an urgent need to develop new technologies for cancer diagnosis and treatment. The proposed project will focus on developing a powerful therapy for treatment of highly malignant cancers such as liver cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, etc. An in-house test will be applied to detect natural antibodies in human plasma, which may play a key role in destruction of cancer cells formed in human body. The laboratory work will mainly analyse cell viability, apoptosis, gene expression and autophagy after cancer cells are treated with plasma rich in anticancer antibodies. The following research questions will be tested: (1) what surface proteins are specifically expressed by cancer cells, (2) whether human plasma contains natural antibodies against the surface proteins specifically expressed by cancer cells and (3) what mechanism is involved in an inhibitory role of human natural antibodies in the proliferation of cancer cells. This work will be useful for identification of molecular targets for cancer therapy and immunotherapy.

Supervisory team

The student will be supervised by Professor Jun Wei and Dr Antonia Pritchard, Senior Lecturer, Division of Health Research, University of the Highlands and Islands. 

Research facilities and environment

The successful applicant will join the Genetics and Immunology Research Group, Division of Health Research at the Centre for Health Science, Inverness, and will contribute to high impact research. Since inception in 2006, the Division has won ~£5M in external funding to support its research activities and to develop research capacity and environment. The Division has expertise in diabetes, cardiovascular science, free radical biology, lipidomics, proteomics, cancer genomics and immunology. All experimental facilities needed for this project are available at the Division of Health Research, including cell culture, flow cytometer, real-time PCR system and microplate readers. Full training will be provided in these technologies and considerable supports are available from experienced post-doctoral researchers and technical staff. The student will attend weekly journal clubs, seminars and team meeting. The student will also develop skills in manuscript writing and oral presentations through short courses delivered by the university as well attend relevant national and international conferences. 


Click on the “Apply” button below to download the application form and guidance and return to:
Informal project specific enquiries can be made to:


This studentship is funded by the European Social Fund and Scottish Funding Council as part of Developing Scotland’s Workforce in the Scotland 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Fund Programme.

The studentship covers fees at the Home/EU rate only, plus a stipend at the RCUK level, for a total of 42 months (including writing-up).

PLEASE NOTE: Funding is available for students worldwide, however non UK/EU students will be liable for the difference between home/EU and international fees.

Students must be domiciled in the Highlands and Islands transition region during the course of their study to be eligible for funding.
Applicants must possess a minimum of an Honours degree at 2:1 and/or a Masters Degree (or International equivalent) in a relevant subject.

Share this PhD
  Share by Email   Print this job   More sharing options
We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role: