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Using metabolomics and other omics to guide new cancer therapies


This project will investigate cellular status and signaling in novel cancer therapies, especially new irradiation schemes in radiotherapy using metabolomics, transcriptomics and proteomics.


Dr Ann Kwan, Professor David McKenzie.

Research location

School of Life and Environmental Sciences

Program type



Cancer is a leading cause of death and radiotherapy is used to treat half of all cancer patients.

When cancer cells are exposed to ionising radiation, they experience a number of physical and biochemical changes.

We have discovered that certain irradiation schemes/spatial patterns are more effective at killing cancer cells (e.g. non-small cell lung cancer cells) at the same dose.

We would like to understand the molecular mechanism of the enhanced cancer cell killing.

Can this be due to certain irradiation patterns resulting in signals being passed from “targeted" cells to neighbouring "bystander "cells?

We track cellular status and signals using metabolomics, transcriptomics and proteomics.

This project combines analytical techniques, data science, biostatistics and biochemistry.

Additional information

You will be co-supervised by A/Prof Natalka Suchowerska from Chris O'brien Lifehouse.

HDR Inherent Requirements

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

Want to find out more?

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2861

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