Career-Research Positions Vacancy

June 2, 2017 Career-Research Positions Vacancy

Keywords: pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, pancreatic stellate cells, myeloid derived suppressor cells, immunosuppression, cancer

Project Description

Introduction: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is the third leading cause of cancer death worldwide with 5-year survival rate of 7%. The high mortality rate is caused by factors such as: 1. the pancreatic stellate cells (PSC) create a microenvironment that physically protect the cancerous cells, and 2. the recruitment of immunosuppressive cells such as myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) which inhibit anti cancer immune response. 

Problem statement: PSC is known to promote the differentiation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) into immunosuppressive MDSC. However, it is unknown if the immunosuppressive property of the differentiated MDSCs would be affected if they were exposed to PDA cells and PSC co-culture instead of PSC alone. Besides, the genes and secreted molecules involved in promoting MDSC differentiation and immunosuppressive properties are not fully elucidated. 

Objectives: To investigate the effects of PDA cells and PSC co-culture on the immunosuppressive property of MDSC. Besides, the gene expression profile of MDSC after exposed to PDA cells, PSC and their co-culture will be studied. The secretome of PDA cells, PSC and their co-culture will also be investigated.

Research methodology: Human PBMC will be co-cultured with 1. PDA cells, 2. PSC, and 3. PDA cells and PSC co-culture. The MDSC activity will be confirmed with T-cell suppression assay. The gene expression profile of MDSC exposed to PDA cells, PSC and their co-culture will be investigated with microarray while the secretomes of PDA cells and PSC will be analysed with mass spectrometer. The genes and secreted molecules responsible for promoting MDSC differentiation and immunosuppressive property will be identified and validated. 

Significance: This study allows the understanding of the interaction between PDA cells, PSC and MDSC. The important genes and secreted molecules identified will be useful for future design of therapeutic intervention.

Scholarship/Stipend: You will be supported by a stipend for 36 months

Entry requirement: Please refer here

Fees: RM15000 per year

Duration: 3 years

Commencement date of the project: 1 January 2019

HOW TO APPLY
Interested candidates can contact Dr. Ho Ket Li, (hoketli@imu.edu.my) for further details.