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Nominating Supervisor: Walter Bodmer

Second Supervisor: Peter McHugh

The Project

Derangement of cellular differentiation is a key step in adenocarcinoma progression. Understanding this should provide novel targets for the development of new treatments, and new approaches to diagnosis and early detection.

We use an extensively characterised panel of more than 100 colorectal cancer (CRC) derived cell lines, together with organoid cultures from primary CRCs, for in vitro studies of the control of differentiation, and patient derived myofibroblast cell lines in co-culture with the CRC cell lines to mimic the epithelial microenvironment.

 Our special interests are in the control of goblet cell differentiation and the interaction between myofibroblasts and epithelial cells.

The Training

A combination of extensive cellular, molecular and immunological techniques with exposure to

statistical bioinformatics approaches to data analysis and modelling. Also, opportunities to work

with fresh human biopsy material for organoid production and to be involved in considerations of

clinical applications for treatment of colorectal and other cancers.


Neil Ashley, Trevor Yeung and Walter F Bodmer (2013) Stem cell differentiation and lumen 

formation in colorectal, cancer cell lines and primary tumours. Cancer Res; 73(18); 5798–809.


Hsia L, Ashley N, Ouaret D, Wang L, Wilding J, Bodmer W F.(2016) Myofibroblasts are 

distinguished from activated skin fibroblasts by the expression of AOC3 and other associated 

markers. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113(15):E2162 - 2171. 


Marina Bacac et al (2016) A Novel Carcinoembryonic Antigen T-Cell Bispecific Antibody (CEA TCB) for 

the Treatment of Solid Tumors. Clinical Cancer Research. Published On line First February 9, 2016. 

DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-15-16