PhD – Blood serum diagnostics for brain tumors

PhD Studentship

Developing functional objective serum spectroscopic diagnostics for brain tumours

Dr Matthew Baker (Chemistry, University of Strathclyde)
Prof Anthony Chalmers (Cancer Sciences, University of Glasgow)

Application deadline: Friday 24th February 2017.

In the UK, 38 % of Brain tumour patients visit their GP >5 times prior to diagnosis with 62 % of patients diagnosed in an emergency contributing to the fact that brain tumours have the highest average year’s life lost of any cancer. The current pathway relies upon medical imaging, surgical resection and then histopathology with additional immunohistochemistry and molecular analysis. The grade and marker status are used to determine treatment as they are indicative of response to chemotherapy. The ability to provide this information prior to resection would enable patients to receive treatment that would reduce tumour volume and hence make resection easier.

Vibrational spectroscopy, such as infrared (IR), is sensitive to the hallmarks of cancer. Serum spectroscopy combined with advanced data analysis can rapidly and objectively distinguish brain tumour severity. As IR spectroscopy analyses the full range of macromolecular classes (e.g. protein, lipids, nucleic acids etc.) the IR spectrum contains cellular and extracellular information and as such this PhD will investigate if it can be used to provide molecular tumour information such as IDH1, MGMT and 1p/19q status.  Providing rapid access to molecular data to enable a paradigm shift in the clinical management of brain tumour patients.

Keywords: Molecular analysis, Brain tumours, Glioma, Infared spectroscopy, Serum


Screening the Low Molecular Weight Fraction of Human Serum Using ATR-IR Spectroscopy Franck Bonnier, Guillaume Brachet, Romain Duong, Tobiloba Sojinrin, Renauld Respaud, Nicolas Aubrey, Matthew J. Baker, Hugh J. Byrne, Igor Chourpa, Journal of Biophotonics, 9(10), (2016), 1085-1097

Combining Random Forest and 2D Correlation Analysis to Identify Serum Spectral Signatures for Neuro-Oncology Benjamin R. Smith, Katherine M. Ashton, Andrew Brodbelt, Timothy Dawson, Michael D. Jenkinson, Neil T. Hunt, David S. Palmer, Matthew J. Baker, Analyst, 141, (2016); 3668-3678

Introducing Discrete Frequency Infrared Technology for High-Throughput Biofluid Screening Caryn Hughes, Graeme Clemens, Benjamin Bird, Timothy Dawson, Katherine M. Ashton, Michael D. Jenkinson, Andrew Brodbelt, Miles Weida, Edeline Fotheringham, Matthew Barre, Jeremy Rowlette, Matthew J. Baker, Scientific Reports, 6, (2016), Article Number 20173

Brain Tumour Differentiation: Rapid Stratified Serum Diagnostics via Attenuated Total Reflection Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy James R. Hands, Graeme Clemens, Ryan Stables, Katherine Ashton, Andrew Brodbelt, Charles Davis, Timothy P. Dawson, Michael D. Jenkinson, Robert W. Lea, Carol Walker, Matthew J. Baker, Journal of Neurooncology, 127, (2016), 463-472

Developing and Understanding Biofluid Vibrational Spectroscopy: A Critical Review Matthew J. Baker, Shawn Hussain, Lila Lovergne, Valerine Untereiner, Caryn Hughes, Roman Lukaszewski, Gerard Thiefin, Ganesh Sockalingum, Chemical Society Reviews, 45, (2016), 1803-1818

A novel 3D human glioblastoma cell culture system for modeling drug and radiation responses. Gomez-Roman N, Stevenson K, Gilmour L, Hamilton G, Chalmers AJ. Neuro Oncol. 2016 Aug 30. pii: now164. [Epub ahead of print]

Selective Inhibition of Parallel DNA Damage Response Pathways Optimizes Radiosensitization of Glioblastoma Stem-like Cells. Ahmed SU, Carruthers R, Gilmour L, Yildirim S, Watts C, Chalmers AJ. Cancer Res. 2015 Oct 15;75(20):4416-28.

Abrogation of radioresistance in glioblastoma stem-like cells by inhibition of ATM kinase. Carruthers R, Ahmed SU, Strathdee K, Gomez-Roman N, Amoah-Buahin E, Watts C, Chalmers AJ. Mol Oncol. 2015 Jan;9(1):192-203.

Differential sensitivity of Glioma stem cells to Aurora kinase A inhibitors: implications for stem cell mitosis and centrosome dynamics.  Mannino M, Gomez-Roman N, Hochegger H, Chalmers AJ. Stem Cell Res. 2014 Jul;13(1):135-43.

Psychosocial and supportive-care needs in high-grade glioma. Catt S, Chalmers A, Fallowfield L. Lancet Oncol. 2008 Sep;9(9):884-91.

Further information:

The Centre offers a number of 4-year PhD studentships, funded by Cancer Research UK, that are designed to give students an opportunity to complete a PhD in one of its wide range of excellent research labs. These provide students with a generous stipend of £19,000 per year (to cover their living expenses) plus their university matriculation fees and some lab running expenses.

Studentships are open to graduates with a very good degree in a life sciences subject or chemistry, who have an aptitude for experimental work. Students must be from the UK or EU.

To apply, go to and complete the application form.

PhD – Blood serum diagnostics for brain tumors