Master projects

Supervisor: Freddy Radtke

Co-supervisor: Amber Bowler

Required: Knowledge in cell and molecular biology and basic understanding of flow cytometric analysis

Availability: Autumn/Winter 2021 to be discussed

Contact: [email protected]

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the major forms of cancer and one of the leading causes of death in adults. It usually develops from benign precursor lesions that continue to accumulate mutations over time, correlating with progression of disease.  Although the sequence of events of mutational activation of oncogenes and mutational loss of tumor suppressors is rather well characterized in human CRC, it is clear that the progression of the disease is not solely a cell autonomous process. Extrinsic factors such as the tumor microenvironment, including tumor-infiltrating immune cells, affect disease progression. It has been shown that CRC patients with high T cell infiltration have a good prognosis and better overall survival compared to patients with low T cell infiltration, suggesting that immune-surveillance is an important component of CRC progression. We utilize three mouse models of CRC with accumulating oncogenic-driver mutations which exhibit variable tumor T cell infiltration and activation, dependent on the genotype of the mouse. For this purpose, we performed single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) to uncover the molecular mechanisms by which T cells are recruited or excluded from tumors, factors which may affect their response to immunotherapeutics. The aim of this master project is to participate in the investigation of how colon tumors progress and impact the tumor microenvironment over time by scRNAseq combined with flow cytometric and immunohistochemical analysis.