Development of a tissue micro-array (TMA) for translational research in colon cancer.

Applications are invited for the post of Graduate Research Student “Emerging Research Funding” under Taylor’s University’s sponsored research projects.
Project Duration: 12 months, initially.
Project Code: TRGS/ERFS/1/2017/SOM/003
Project TitleDevelopment of a tissue micro-array (TMA) for translational research in colon cancer.

Brief of Project: 

Colon cancer is one of the most common malignancies. The 5-year survival rate for colon cancer, depends greatly on the stage at which it is diagnosed, with late stage resulting in a poor prognosis. Following surgical intervention, patients are classically treated with various combinations of radiotherapy or/and chemotherapy. Modern medicine aims to develop targeted cancer therapies that are more effective and have relatively fewer side effects. This can only be done effectively by understanding the molecular events causing cancer to proliferate and progress. Much of this understanding comes from in vitro cell line studies, and animal models. However, these findings need to be translated to clinical studies to investigate the prevalence and clinical relevance of these pathways and related biomarkers in patients’ samples. It is expensive, and time consuming, to test hundreds of formalin fixed tissue samples. The construction of a tissue micro-array (TMA), comprising cores of tissue from multiple cases in the same tissue cassette is an effective way of reducing the number of tests required, and therefore also the costs. Once constructed, the TMA can be used for many different biomarker studies and is an important preliminary step of any translational research. In this study we aim to construct high quality TMA blocks from a carefully selected cohort of patients with colon cancer and collect a full set of associated clinical and pathological data for each case. This will generate a valuable research tool which can be used to support a range of biomarker studies.
Master’s by research student – 1 (with potential for conversion to PhD)
Specific Qualifications/ Requirements: We seek an enthusiastic science graduate, who has good inter-personal skills and able to work well in a team. The student should be willing to learn new techniques and have a passion for cancer research. Whilst the initial funding is for 12 months, we would hope to extend this subject to funding, so that the project develops into a PhD program for a suitable candidate.
Stipend and Benefits: Students are encouraged to apply for PhD scholarship (applicable for PhD students with 100% tuition fee waiver and stipend) or Research scholarship (applicable for both Master’s and PhD students with 75% tuition fee waiver and stipend). Refer to ‘Postgraduate Funding’ for eligibility, application and selection details for these scholarships.
Successful candidates who do not qualify for the above-mentioned scholarships will be funded through a Graduate Student Assistant scheme with monthly stipend of up to RM2, 300. Students will be enrolled in MSc in Science.
Job Description for PhD Candidate: 
Job Description for Master’s by Research Candidate: 
Under the supervisor’s guidance, samples of colon cancer will be identified. Cores of tissue will be extracted to construct the tissue micro-array, sections will be cut, stained with haematoxylin and eosin and annotated, allowing correlation with clinical and pathological data. All training will be provided, though inherent manual dexterity an advantage.
Interested candidates can directly contact Prof Dr Charles Anthony Rhodes with their CV and research proposal via e-mail (
School of Medicine
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Taylor’s University.