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Exploring the role of tumour mutational burden in immune cell infiltration for lung cancer

Description 
In several cancer types, a higher tumour mutational burden (TMB) has been associated with increased immune cell infiltration into tumours and better immunotherapy outcomes, yet these effects are only seen for those tumours with a particularly high mutational burden. Non small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) often carry a relatively high TMB and there is increasing interest in the use if immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) therapies for treatment, yet there are still a number of unknown questions around the relationship between TMB and tumour infiltrating lymphocyte populations. Using a variety of bulk genomic and transcriptomic data, as well as single-cell RNA-seq data from NSCLC, this project will investigate associations between tumour genomic mutations and NK cell infiltration to better understand the intercellular interactions which may contribute to patient clinical outcomes. In particular this project aims to identify biomarkers and molecular pathways associated with NK infiltration/activity and therapy outcome. Given the data intensive nature of this project the ideal candidate would have: strong programming skills with experience using bash/command line and data science languages such as R or python; familiarity with genomics (WGS/WES) data, and; an interest in natural killer cell biology and cancer research.
Essential criteria: 
Minimum entry requirements can be found here: https://www.monash.edu/admissions/entry-requirements/minimum
Keywords 
Transcriptomics, genomics, single-cell, RNA-seq, NK cell, cancer
Available options 
PhD/Doctorate
Masters by research
Time commitment 
Full-time
Top-up scholarship funding available 
No
Physical location 
15 Innovation Walk
Co-supervisors 
Dr 
Momeneh Foroutan

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