Harnessing RNA mutation sensing for a new generation of cancer therapeutics

Project type

  • PhD and Graduate Research Masters
  • Masters by Coursework
  • Honours

Project details

Heterogeneity of cancer phenotypes is the root cause behind inefficient tumour eradication and drug resistance after treatment. To overcome these challenges, in this project we explore a radically new approach: kill cancer cells based on their genotype, i.e. target patient specific DNA mutations rather than phenotypic characteristics. Students will be involved in genetic engineering, designing and building novel synthetic constructs based on the latest generation of RNA sensors, and test candidate systems for specificity and efficiency on a range of cancer cell lines, including leukaemia and breast cancer.

This project is ideal for those with a keen interest in the vanguard fields of synthetic biology, protein engineering, and molecular biology. Not only will students have the opportunity to develop a new class of anti-cancer therapeutics, but will also gain hands-on experience in cutting-edge CRISPR techniques, contribute to high-impact research, and work in a dynamic and supportive team.

About our research group

The Naik lab focuses on understanding development at a single cell or ‘clonal’ level. Our biological interests are centered around haematopoiesis (both in the steady-state and after perturbation with inflammation or during leukemia).

We have a particular interest in the development of the dendritic cell subtypes of the immune system and using them for cell therapy. We both adopt and develop our own genome engineering tools including cellular barcoding for clonal lineage tracing, as well as single cell ‘multi-omics’.

Depending on interests and skills, students in the lab are encouraged and supported in learning both the laboratory techniques to generate new data and create new technologies, as well as the computational tools to analyze and interpret the results.

Education pathways