The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute (CRUK CI) is a joint venture between the Charity, Cancer Research UK, and the University of Cambridge. The Institute has excellent state-of-the-art facilities and research ranges from basic cancer biology and computational biology through to translational research and clinical application. Graduate students play a pivotal role in the continuing success of our research programmes and gaining a studentship in the Institute is an excellent opportunity to start a research career in an environment committed to training outstanding cancer research scientists of the future. For further information, go to:

Dr Raza Ali wishes to appoint a student to work on the project entitled: In situ Immune Dynamics through Breast Cancer Progression and Treatment.

Project details:

Recent trials show that some breast cancer patients benefit from treatment with immunotherapies. Immune cells infiltrating breast tumours are also established prognostic factors in some breast cancer subtypes. We now face the challenges of identifying those patients most likely to benefit from treatment, how best to combine immunotherapies with conventional therapies and discovering novel immune targets for new treatments. This project will address these questions by using cutting edge multidimensional tissue imaging (imaging mass cytometry) technology to quantify expression of fifty markers simultaneously in breast tumours. This will enable in-depth characterisation of the cellular components of the in situ immune response, their spatial relatedness and organisation at the tumour-immune interface. How immune dynamics reflect tumour evolution and treatment response will be evaluated by using pre and post-treatment samples. Extensive training in systems pathology, multidimensional tissue imaging, computational biology and clinical epidemiology will be provided.

Further reading:

  • Giesen C, Wang HA, Schapiro D, Zivanovic N, Jacobs A, Hattendorf B, Schuffler PJ, Grolimund D, Buhmann JM, Brandt S, Varga Z, Wild PJ, Gunther D, Bodenmiller B (2014) Highly multiplexed imaging of tumor tissues with subcellular resolution by mass cytometry. Nat Methods 11(4): 417-22

  • Keren L, Bosse M, Marquez D, Angoshtari R, Jain S, Varma S, Yang SR, Kurian A, Van Valen D, West R, Bendall SC, Angelo M (2018) A Structured Tumor-Immune Microenvironment in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Revealed by Multiplexed Ion Beam Imaging. Cell 174(6): 1373-1387.e19

  • Schulz D, Zanotelli VRT, Fischer JR, Schapiro D, Engler S, Lun XK, Jackson HW, Bodenmiller B (2017) Simultaneous Multiplexed Imaging of mRNA and Proteins with Subcellular Resolution in Breast Cancer Tissue Samples by Mass Cytometry. Cell systems

Preferred skills/knowledge

A Master’s degree or excellent first degree with some laboratory research experience is required. Experience both at the bench and with computational biology is desirable; however outstanding individuals with either a purely quantitative or wet laboratory background are welcome. A strong interest in translational cancer research is needed.


This project is funded by a Cancer Research UK studentship that includes full funding for University and College fees and in addition, a stipend of £19,000 per annum, initially for 3 years, with funding for a further year possible as required.


No nationality restrictions apply to Cancer Research UK funded studentships. Applications are invited from recent graduates or final year undergraduates who hold or expect to gain a first/upper second class degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject from any recognised university worldwide.

How to apply

All applications need to be made using the University Applicant Portal. Please visit: for further information about the course and to access the applicant portal.

To complete your on-line application, you need to provide the following:

Reference Request: The names and contact details of two academic referees who have agreed to act on your behalf.

Research: If you wish to be considered for more than one studentship, please enter the names of all of the supervisors you wish to consider your application in the ‘Research summary’ text box. If you only wish your application to be considered by a single supervisor, then please enter their name in the ‘Research Supervisor’ text box. Please describe your past ‘Research experience’ in the appropriate text box.

Course Specific Questions: Your statement of interest (limit of 2,500 characters) should explain why you wish to be considered for the studentship and which qualities and experience you will bring to the role. Please also state how you learned of the studentship.

Supporting Documents: Please upload your CV (PDF file), which should include a list of the examinations taken at undergraduate level and if possible, your examination results.


The closing date for applications is 15 November 2019, with interviews expected to take place in December/January.

Please quote reference SW20866 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

27 Sep 2019
15 Nov 2019