Investigating the p53 and hypoxia pathways in cancer-host crosstalk

Project Overview

Cancer cells don’t grow in isolation; in the body they have complex interactions with the surrounding host tissues and immune cells. To understand more fully the molecular basis of tumorigenesis, cancer progression and responses to therapy we need to dissect the inter-relationships between the tumour and its environment. The immune system is emerging as crucial both in the initiation of cancer (such as in the context of chronic inflammation or certain infections) and in patient responses to the latest immunotherapies. Therefore, a key aspect of this project will be using in vivo and in vitro systems to identify how specific regulatory proteins influence the interplay between immune system cells and tumour cells. In particular, this project will focus on the crucial tumour suppressor p53 and hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) pathways.  Another focus will be on cancer-epithelial cell interactions, as around 80% of tumours derive from epithelial tissues. Questions that may be addressed include: what are the receptors, signalling pathways and effectors of the interactions; and can we identify factors in host cells that prevent cancer progression? This research project will therefore offer exciting opportunities for a candidate with interests in tumour immunology, cancer biology and fundamental cellular processes.

Training Opportunities

A wide range of molecular and cellular biology techniques including DNA, RNA and protein analysis methods. Genetic manipulation, in vivo models, flow cytometry and other approaches including, but not limited to, tissue culture, in situ hybridisation, confocal microscopy and time-lapse imaging.


Cancer Biology and Immunology & Infectious Disease


Project reference number: 948

Funding and admissions information


Name Department Institution Country Email
Professor Xin Lu Oxford Ludwig Institute Oxford University, Old Road Campus Research Building GBR
Professor Sir Peter J Ratcliffe FRS Target Discovery Institute Oxford University, NDM Research Building GBR

There are no publications listed for this DPhil project.