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PhD position at the interface of Engineering and Cancer at UCL

emadmoeen1's picture

Discovering the bio-mechanical signatures of cancer cells in 3D tumouroid models:

We are seeking outstanding candidates for a 4 year PhD studentship fully funded by the UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering. The student will be jointly supervised by Dr. Emad Moeendarbary based in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Dr Umber Cheema based at the Division of Surgery and Interventional Sciences.

Studentship Description:

This PhD will entail development of 3D models of solid tumours, which we have termed tumouroids. These tumouroid models are made of up native extra-cellular proteins, and are biomimetic in terms of matrix density, matrix composition, cell spatial positioning and formation of hypoxia gradients. Tumouroids comprise of a dense cancer mass embedded within ‘normal’ tissue stroma. This studentship aims to measure the biomechanical signatures across the tumour-stroma boundary to predict cancer invasiveness. We will use different cell line of cancer with low and high invasive capability and measure stiffness signatures as they develop across the tumour stroma boundary. In addition, we will study the formation of tumour associated collagen signatures and correlate these to mechanical and biological characteristics.

Person Specification:


The candidate is required to have a first class or 2:1 class degree with master’s degree (or equivalent) in biological/ biomedical sciences, mechanical engineering, Physics or a related discipline. The candidate will be expected to be a critical thinker and have the ability to work independently. We also expect the candidate to demonstrate strong verbal and written communication skills, both in plain English and scientific language for communication with academic staff, publication in relevant journals and presentation at conferences.


  • Lab experience including; Tissue culture experience; Molecular biology experience, mainly quantitative PCR; 3D biology.
  • Experience in any of Atomic Force Microscopy, Advanced Imaging, Microfluidics.
  • Flexible, able to work collaboratively
  • A strong team player with good interpersonal skills able to build and sustain effective working relationships

Closing Date and Start Date

We will be continuously having an informal discussion with interested candidates until this position is filled. The start date is 23rd September 2019.

Value of Award Stipend

Full tuition fees and a stipend of up to £17,009 per annum for 4 years


This funding is available for UK and EU passport holders. There is no minimum qualifying residence requirement for applicants from the EU.

Application Process:

Eligible applicants should first contact Dr Emad Moeendarbary ( ). Please enclose a cover letter (including the names and contact details of two referees), one-page research statement and two pages CV. The supervisory team will arrange interviews for short-listed candidates. After interview, the successful candidate will be required to formally apply online via the UCL website. Regrettably, we are only able to contact candidates who are successful at the shortlisting stage. Thank you for your interest in this position.

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