PhD opportunity at Oxford Brookes University

Project Description

Oxford Brookes University
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences,
Department of Biomedical and Medical Sciences

3 Year, full-time PhD studentship
Eligibility: Home UK/EU applicants who must be permanently resident in UK/EU
Closing date: 31 December 2019
Start date: September 2020
Interview: w/c 13 January 2020
Bursary p.a.: Bursary equivalent to UKRI national minimum stipend plus fees (2019/20 bursary rate is £15,009)
University fees and bench fees at the Home/EU rate will be met by the University for the 3 years of the Studentship.
Supervisors: Prof Dave Carter, Prof Susan Brooks, Dr Ryan Pink


The way in which cancer cells metastasise to other parts of the body is highly complex and not fully understood. Unravelling the molecular mechanisms of the metastatic process is crucially important, as there are currently no ways to block the spread of cancer and it is the metastatic form of cancer that patients tend to succumb to.
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are small cargo-carrying lipid-enclosed vesicles released by cells into the extracellular space. EVs play a number of important biological roles and can be deregulated in pathological conditions, including cancer metastasis. However, the ways in which they contribute to metastasis has not been fully explored.
We have shown that EVs released by some breast cancer types carry specific proteins with an altered glycosylation pattern. These EVs interact with a cognate receptor on the surface of target tissues, which leads to the seeding of a ‘pre-metastatic niche’, helping the tumour cells to colonise the new tissue.
The aim of this project is to test the mechanisms by which these breast cancer cells use EVs to seed the pre-metastatic niche. To establish the effect of EVs on the target tissue the candidate will use techniques including mass spectroscopy, flow cytometry, migration assays, invasion assays, and cell-cell adhesion assays. The project will involve the use of mammalian cell culture and may include in vivo experiments. The candidate will also explore the potential of EVs as a diagnostic/prognostic in breast cancer metastasis, and test the therapeutic potential of blocking these.
We are seeking a motivated and talented student to join our vibrant team on this fascinating project. Experience in EVs, cell culture and the other techniques described above would be beneficial but is not required, though experience in lab-based experimental design, execution and analysis is essential.
For further information contact Prof Dave Carter:


Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or acceptable equivalent qualification in Biological Science or related discipline. Experience in lab-based experimental design, execution and analysis is essential. EU Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate (or equivalent) with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued in the last 2 years by an approved test centre.

How to apply:

Applications should be sent to and should include the following form

For more detail please see the advert on FindAPhD: