The Department of General Surgery at the Medical University of Vienna (research team C. Brostjan) offers a Master student position for a full-time engagement in cancer research over 1 year (starting as soon as possible) with a monthly tax-free stipend of € 440.

The proposed thesis project addresses “The impact of monocyte subsets on the growth of colorectal cancer (CRC)” in a preclinical mouse model. While novel targeted and immunotherapies are progressively introduced into clinical practice, cancer research for new treatment options suffers from the limitation that the human and murine immune systems differ substantially. Hence, so-called “humanized mice” have been developed to address this need and generate animal models with immune composition close to the human setting. The so-called “NSG-QUAD mice” are the latest advance and allow for the reconstitution of a fully humanized immune system representing both, the innate (including monocytes, macrophages) and adaptive immunity (including B- and T-lymphocytes).

Previous studies conducted by our research group have identified distinct monocyte populations to be associated with tumor development and treatment response in CRC patients. We therefore propose that the therapeutic administration of monocyte subgroups may have a direct impact on tumor growth. To test this hypothesis in the humanized NSG-QUAD mouse model, monocytes will be isolated from healthy donors, sorted into their respective subgroups (by FACS) and marked with a fluorescent dye before injection into human CRC xenograft-bearing mice.

The mouse model and required methods are established in our group, i.e. the Master student will be supported by our interactive team and will be trained in the respective skills and techniques. For the Master project, the impact of repeated adoptive transfer of monocyte subsets will be assessed with respect to tumor growth and metastasis by in vivo imaging system (IVIS).

We are thus looking for a motivated Master student who is interested in conducting cancer research with a mouse model. Previous experience with animal experiments would be an advantage but is not a prerequisite. We are particularly interested in students who intend to continue with PhD studies. Of note, the communication within the group will be partly in English, since we are an international team. Please submit applications including a CV and motivation statement to C. Brostjan.

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