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 Title

The Influence of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDA) Cells and Pancreatic Stellate Cells (PSC) on Myeloid Derived Suppressor Cells (MDSC) Immunosuppressive Properties

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

Interested candidates can contact Dr Ho Ket Li, ( for further details.

We are looking for full-time Research Assistant to assist us in a FRGS project in the International Medical University, Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur. The candidate has the opportunity to pursue his/her postgraduate degree in this project (MSc) and present research findings at various conferences or seminars.


Influence of IsaA gene disruption on staphylococcal phenotypic characters, genes and protein expression profiles

Project Description:
This project is focused on the gene disruption of IsaA gene. We are planning to investigate the additional functions of IsaA by address the following questions:
1. Will the disruption of IsaA gene show the significant change in the staphylococcal observable characters (such as adhesive ability on the human fibrinogen and fibronectin, also the thickness of the staphylococcal cell walls)?
2. Will the up-regulated genes that correlate to the expressed protein be detected in the IsaA mutant but are not detected in their wild-type?

Entry requirement:
• Malaysian
• A bachelor’s degree or equivalent with minimum CGPA of 3.00 in Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Medical Biotechnology, Biomedical Science, Microbiology, Science Cell and Molecular Biology or other relevant discipline
• Motivated and enthusiastic individual with basic skill in microbial cultivation and basic knowledge in genetic concepts and mechanisms

1-2 year(s)

Commencement date of the project:
1 January 2019


Interested candidates are required to submit your curriculum vitae to Dr Yun Khoon Liew at before or by 15 December 2018.
Only shortlisted candidates will be called for a face-to-face interview session.