The influence of the tumour microenvironment on drug action
M.Sc. research project (laboratory based)
Supervisor: Dr. Anika Nagelkerke, email@example.com ; daily supervision of the project will be provided by one of the PhD students.
Number of students: Multiple projects are available. Please get in contact for further details.
Project description: Despite decades of research, cancer remains a disease that is challenging to treat. To generate a better understanding of the disease, cancer cells themselves have been studied in great detail. However, in recent years, it is realized more and more that also the environment in which the cancer cells reside is of great importance for their behaviour and response to therapy. As such, replicating the various parameters of the tumour microenvironment in laboratory models for cancer is a key area of interest. Still, new technologies are needed to fully incorporate the microenvironment in the laboratory models that are used to study cancer and associated therapy efficacy.
In this project, you will further develop laboratory models for cancer in which the tumour microenvironment is incorporated. Parameters of interest are: gradients in oxygen, mechanics of extracellular matrix, microbial factors and environments with established comorbidities. Your project will focus on one of these. You will learn how to design and fabricate model systems for cancer. You will use basic cell culture techniques, including 3D culture and co-cultures, as well as various biomaterials and microfabrication technologies. You will use microscopic analysis to study the behaviour of the cultured cells in the model systems, e.g. by immunofluorescent stainings. Sensitivity to common therapeutics in different environments will be evaluated using live cell imaging.
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