The Ins and Outs of Endocytosis inhibition: Providing diverse opportunities for treatment of incurable cancers

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

Supervisor – Associate Professor Fiona Simpsonf.simpson@uq.edu.au

This is a project which aims to investigate how tumours and normal tissue internalise drugs such as cancer therapy antibodies in real in vivo models and in patients. My laboratory has recently shown that changing this internalisation can alter therapy mechansims. 

The uptake of drugs by both target cells and normal cells in humans, a process called endocytosis, is critical for many medicines including antibody therapies, nano-medicines and antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). Our understanding of cellular uptake mechanisms has developed significantly in the last 5 years. However, these advances in cell biology have not fully translated to the drug delivery, design and immunological fields. The role of endocytosis is also important for naturally occurring nanoparticles, such as viruses and exosomes and CAR-T therapy has been shown to be antigen clustering dependent,

An example of this is the recent advance in cancer therapy using anti-PDL1 and anti PD-1 antibodies, known as checkpoint inhibitors. Recent data has shown that in cases of poor outcome the pharmacokinetic properties of anti-PDL1 antibody is an issue, with tumour degradation of the antibody occurring very quickly. Another example is the drive to understand CoV-virus entry into human cells to inform to inform potential anti-viral therapies. Findings from our program may be applied to multiple clinical settings (e.g. antibody therapy in multiple sclerosis or anti-HIV antibody therapy).

This project crosses the fields of cell biology, immunology, cancer, drug targeting and clinical trials. Techniques include (but are not limited to) imaging, electron microscopy, fluorescence activated cell sorting and in vivo work in murine models and patient samples. 

Preferred educational background

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of cell biology and cellular trafficking / signalling would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of cell biology and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of cell biology and cellular trafficking is highly desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2023. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

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