PhD - Using Advanced Spectroscopic Tools to Probe the Effects of Radiotherapy in Primary Tissue Models

University of Edinburgh

Eligibility: UK students only

Duration and funding. Three year studentship commencing September 2017. This is a tax-free stipend covering tuition fees and living expenses at the standard EPSRC rate (commencing at ~£ 14,296 per year). Funding supplied by Jamie King Urological Cancers Research Fund and EPSRC.


Dr Colin Campbell, School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh

Dr Duncan McLaren, Edinburgh Cancer Centre, NHS Lothian

Dr Bill Nailon, Edinburgh Cancer Centre, NHS Lothian

Prof David Harrison, School of Medicine, University of St Andrews                          


Radiotherapy remains one of the most common therapies in the treatment of cancer but many questions remain regarding the optimisation of its delivery.

This project will utilise Raman and Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopies to evaluate the effect of radiotherapy on tumour models maintained in microenvironments that mimic those typical of hard-to-treat tumours (e.g. low oxygen concentration). We will use both Raman and SERS to evaluate the effect of radiotherapy (building on recent preliminary findings, Camus et al, Analyst, 2016) on organotypic tissue models derived from primary tissue. External Beam Radiation will be delivered in the most clinically-relevant means possible (using a tissue phantom in a clinical linear accelerator (LINAC) system) and a range of treatment protocols that vary dose, fractionation and combination with drugs will be investigated to find the optimal means of delivering radiotherapy to maximise tumour death and minimise collateral toxicity. The student will experience a breadth of research and training opportunities including working with nanoparticles, developing spectroscopic/imaging techniques, culturing organotypic tissue models and delivering therapy in a clinical environment.

How to apply

Send CV and cover letter to Informal enquiries to

Relevant literature

L.E. Jamieson, V.L. Camus, P.O. Bagnaninchi, K.M. Fisher, G.D. Stewart, W.H. Nailon, D.B. McLaren, D.J. Harrison, C.J. Campbell. Targeted SERS nanosensors measure physicochemical gradients and free energy changes in live 3D tumor spheroids. Nanoscale, 2016 8, 16710-16718

V.L. Camus, G. Stewart, W.H. Nailon, D.B. McLaren, C.J. Campbell. Measuring the effects of fractionated radiation therapy in a 3D prostate cancer model system using SERS nanosensors. Analyst, 2016, 141, 5056-5061

P.I.T. Thomson, V.L. Camus, Y. Hu, and C.J. Campbell. Series of Quinone-Containing Nanosensors for Biologically Relevant Redox Potential Determination by Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy. Anal Chem, 2015, 87, 4719

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