Mathematics: Fully Funded SUSPRS PhD Scholarship: Mathematical and Computational Approaches to Explore the Reciprocal Interaction Between Cell Metabolism (RS623)

  • DeadlineDeadline: 5 June 2024
  • WalesWales

Description

Closing date: 5 June 2024

Fully Funded SUSPRS PhD Scholarship: Mathematical and computational approaches to explore the reciprocal interaction between cell metabolism and radiation therapy in cancer 

Funding providers: Swansea University Strategic Partnership Research Scholarships (SUSPRS) with Université Grenoble Alpes, France

Subject areas: Applied Mathematics, Mathematical and Computational Biology

Project start date: 

  • 1 October 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-September)

Supervisors:

Aligned programme of study: PhD in Mathematics

Mode of study: Full-time

Project description: 

This is a joint PhD programme between Swansea University and Université Grenoble Alpes.

Established in 2012/13, the Swansea and Grenoble (UGA) Institutional Strategic Partnership was one of the first major strategic partnerships between a UK and French university. It is a unique, institutional-wide multi-disciplinary collaboration, which includes joint research and publication, student and staff exchange, joint PhDs and joint master’s programmes. Over 30 Joint Doctoral Degrees have been developed through the strategic partnership to date, across diverse subject areas, including medicine, engineering and law. Candidates spend 50% of their time in both Swansea and Grenoble and are jointly supervised by academic staff from both universities. Successful candidates receive a double degree from the Université Grenoble Alpes and Swansea University.  

Gliomas are brain tumours characterized by the invasion of the surrounding healthy tissues by tumour cells. This cell dissemination in the brain tissue makes this cancer extremely difficult to treat. Although during radiotherapy, tumours are irradiated over an area larger than the tumour centre, there is an almost systematic recurrence of the tumour. 

Several hypotheses can explain this phenomenon: the first is that the effectiveness of radiation depends on cellular metabolism; the second is that radiation increases migration, either directly by changing the metabolism of tumour cells and increasing their migratory power, or indirectly by affecting surrounding tissues. 

Mathematical modelling proves very efficient and powerful to decipher the relationship between many entangled mechanisms. Many computational models of tumour growth have been developed over the past 20 years to understand the mechanisms involved in tumour evolution, to predict the effect of a variety of therapies and to optimize the therapeutic protocols. Integration of metabolism is relatively recent and up to now, there is no model specifically investigating the metabolism/irradiation interactions, informed, and validated with experimental data, which makes our project particularly original and innovative. 

The objective of our project is to better understand the reciprocal relationship between the cell metabolism and the irradiation. To that end we will develop a multi-scale, multi-physics computational model, based on experimental in vitro results recently obtained by our collaborator at the IJCLab. The aim is first to obtain a model able to interpret and explain our experimental results. Then the model will be analysed both mathematically and numerically to identify the key parameters of the metabolism-irradiation interactions. The model will be used to predict the in vitro tumour evolution under treatment. We will then seek to identify the metabolic pathways to be specifically targeted to optimize the therapy and to optimize the radiation parameters including scheduling and dosage.

For more details please see here: https://www.swansea.ac.uk/postgraduate/scholarships/research/mathematics-susprs-phd-mathematical-2024-rs623.php

Entry Requirements

Candidates must hold a recognised master’s degree in a relevant discipline that include Applied Mathematics, Biophysics, Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, Biomedical Engineering and appropriate English Language qualification. If you are eligible to apply for the scholarship but do not hold a UK degree, you can check our comparison entry requirements (see country specific qualifications). Please note that you may need to provide evidence of your English Language proficiency. 

Knowledge in cancer biology is not essential but the candidate will be required to learn appropriate biological and clinical knowledge.

The candidate is expected to have a strong applied mathematical or related subject background. The project involves the use of PDEs, ODEs and discrete modelling (agent-based).

Strong computational and programming skills are mandatory. The preferred programming languages are C++ and python, some knowledge in R and Matlab would be a plus.

Strong interpersonal skills and the capacity to work and learn independently will be required.

Applicants must hold a master's qualification to comply with Grenoble’s admissions requirements. 

English Language: IELTS 6.0 Overall (with no individual component below 5.5) or Swansea University recognised equivalent. Full details of our English Language policy, including certificate time validity, can be found here. 

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.

ATAS

Please note that the programme requires some applicants to hold ATAS clearance, further details on ATAS scheme eligibility are available on the UK Government website.

ATAS clearance IS NOT required to be held as part of the scholarship application process, successful award winners (as appropriate) are provided with details as to how to apply for ATAS clearance in tandem with scholarship course offer. 

If you have any questions regarding your academic or fee eligibility based on the above, please email pgrscholarships@swansea.ac.uk with the web-link to the scholarship(s) you are interested in. 

Funding

This scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees and an annual stipend of £19,237.

Additional research expenses will also be available.

How To Apply

To apply, please complete your application online with the following information:

  1. Course choice – please select Mathematics / PhD / Full-time / 3 Years / October

    In the event you have already applied for the above programme previously, the application system may issue a warning notice and prevent application, in this event, please email pgrscholarships@swansea.ac.uk where staff will be happy to assist you in submitting your application.

  2. Start year – please select 2024
  3. Funding (page 8) –
  • ‘Are you funding your studies yourself?’ – please select No
  • ‘Name of Individual or organisation providing funds for study’ – please enter ‘RS623 - SUSPRS 2’

*It is the responsibility of the applicant to list the above information accurately when applying, please note that applications received without the above information listed will not be considered for the scholarship award.

One application is required per individual Swansea University led research scholarship award; applications cannot be considered listing multiple Swansea University led research scholarship awards.

We encourage you to complete the following to support our commitment to providing an environment free of discrimination and celebrating diversity at Swansea University: 

As part of your online application, you MUST upload the following documents (please do not send these via e-mail). We strongly advise you to provide the listed supporting documents by the advertised application closing date. Please note that your application may not be considered without the documents listed:

  • CV
  • Degree certificates and transcripts (if you are currently studying for a degree, screenshots of your grades to date are sufficient)
  • A cover letter including a ‘Supplementary Personal Statement’ to explain why the position particularly matches your skills and experience and how you choose to develop the project.
  • Two references (academic or previous employer) on headed paper or using the Swansea University reference form. Please note that we are not able to accept references received citing private email accounts, e.g. Hotmail. Referees should cite their employment email address for verification of reference.
  • Evidence of meeting English Language requirement (if applicable).
  • Copy of UK resident visa (if applicable)
  • Confirmation of EDI form submission (optional) 

Informal enquiries are welcome, please contact Professor Gibin Powathil (g.g.powathil@swansea.ac.uk) / Dr Angélique Stéphanou (angelique.stephanou@univ-grenoble-alpes.fr).

*External Partner Application Data Sharing – Please note that as part of the scholarship application selection process, application data sharing may occur with external partners outside of the University, when joint/co- funding of a scholarship project is applicable.

Who is eligible to apply?

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.

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