PhD Studentship: Self-assembling matrixes to recreate the tumour microenvironment

Updated: about 1 month ago
Location: Nottingham, SCOTLAND
Deadline: 30 Jun 2021

Closing Date
Wednesday, 30th June 2021

Project Title

Self-assembling matrixes to recreate the tumour microenvironment


Alvaro Mata, Paloma Ordonez-Moran

Project Description

Many cancer patients receive ineffective treatments due to the uncertainty of which drugs are likely to work for each patient. Consequently, ex vivo tests that can accurately predict patient outcomes and assign effective treatments are critical. Towards this goal, there is a need for improved three dimensional (3D) in vitro models that can recapitulate the human tumour to study the pathophysiology of cancer and responses to drugs. The ideal in vitro platform would be tailored to individual patients, enabling the use of patient-derived cells in an economically viable and scalable manner. Recently, we have developed a molecularly designed 3D self-assembling matrix that enables the growth of spheroids from different cancer types. 

This PhD studentship will undertake an ambitious programme of work to optimize and integrate this 3D matrix technology within organ-on-chip devices to engineer in vitro models for the discovery of novel cancer treatments and the study of drug resistance. The project is interdisciplinary and will be led by Profs. Alvaro Mata (Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and School of Pharmacy, UoN) and Paloma Ordonez-Moran (Translational Medical Sciences Unit, School of Medicine, UoN). This project will be performed in collaboration with the bioengineering company Pear Bio ( ), which has developed an innovative organ-on-chip platform to visualize and compute cancer spread and drug resistance.


We are seeking an ambitious and enthusiastic candidate with an interest in molecular self-assembly, protein-based materials, hydrogels, extracellular matrixes, and cell and cancer biology. The position is open to both home and international applicants.

Relevant publications


The project will be conducted within the University of Nottingham’s flagship Biodiscovery Institute (BDI). The £100M interdisciplinary complex brings together scientists from different disciplines and houses cutting-edge equipment and facilities. The student will be part of an ambitious and collaborative research environment.

Please apply here

When applying for this studentship, please include the reference number (beginning ENG and supervisors name) within the personal statement section of the application. This will help in ensuring your application is sent directly to the academic advertising the studentship.

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