- Some components of this project are suitable for Honours students, flexible for clinical students and entire project is suitable for PhD students.
Research Area: Neutrophil biology, NK cells, Melanoma, Metastasis
Malignant melanoma is a very aggressive disease with a high mortality. Melanoma cells can disseminate and from distant metastasis in vital organs even if the primary tumour is very small. Melanoma cells are extremely metastatic, because the can acquire properties of neuronal stem cells, which migrate throughout the body during development. In other words, melanoma cells are highly plastic and able to adapt their phenotype to environmental changes. Neutrophils can foster the acquisition of migratory properties. However, the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. On the other hand natural killer (NK) cells detect and destroy disseminated cells. In this project we aim to understand the intercellular communication of neutrophils, NK cells and melanoma cells in the metastatic niche. For this we will use state of the art primary and transplantable tumour models as well as genetically engineered mouse models. Furthermore, you will learn multi-colour flow cytometry, histology and intravital imaging. Finally, we aim to translate our findings into the human system by assessing human melanoma samples.