Recreating brain tumours using patient-derived glioma stem cells hosted by normal brain cells to gain novel insights into tumourigenesis

Website University of Plymouth

Last Day to Apply: 12 August 2024

About the project
Glioblastoma remains as an incurable brain tumour, with a median survival of 15 months. Major reasons for treatment failure include tumour heterogeneity, extensive infiltrative behaviour and the glioma stem cells (GSC), a subpopupation of tumours able to reform all tumour masses. These clinically relevant properties are not always recapitulated with traditional in vitro models, likely contributing to low success of clinical trials and highlighting the need for more translatable systems. Cerebral organoids, or mini-brains, are one of the most promising advances providing a physiological 3D substrate for glioma stem cells (GSC) to generate tumours that more closely mirror patient ́s GBMs. This PhD project aims to develop models towards human neural spheroids and/or organoids, and use these “mini-brain” platforms to generate infiltrative tumours using patient-derived GSCs. The model will then be validated as a more clinically relevant system to reveal novel mechanisms of tumour development and therapeutic resistance.

Director of Studies (DoS): Dr Jon Gil-Ranedo
2nd Supervisor: Dr Claudia Barros
3rd Supervisor:  Prof José M Almendral  (

Applicants must have a first or a good upper second-class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant masters qualification and/ or extended laboratory research experience (e.g. molecular biology, biochemistry, cell culture, confocal microscopy). A strong background in neural development and brain tumour biology is desired and an interest in these areas essential. International fees are not covered by the studenship.
The studentship is supported for three years and includes full Home tuition fees only, plus a stipend of £18,655 per annum 2024/25. The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for Home fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants required to cover International fees will have to cover the difference between the Home and the International tuition fee rates.
International students must have a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (with no less than 5.5 in any element) or equivalent.
NB: The studentship is supported for three years of the four-year registration period. The fourth year is a self-funded ‘writing-up’ year.
If you wish to obtain other information on this project informally, please send your query to Dr Jon Gil-Ranedo (
Please see page for a list of supporting documents to upload with your application.
For more information on the admissions process generally, please visit  page or contact the Doctoral College at

To apply for this job please visit

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