Principal Advisor: DrJodi Saunus

Email: j.saunus@uq.edu.au

Phone: 0416 157 782

Organisational unit: Mater Research Institute-UQ, Centre for Health Services Research

Most of the time, treatments for early breast cancer successfully prevent metastatic spread, but 10% of Australian patients still develop lethal recurrences within 5 years. Rather than waiting to see which patients develop symptoms of a possible relapse (e.g., headaches, respiratory symptoms), we are getting better at detecting metastasis early. Patients deemed to be at ‘high risk’ are offered regular PET or MRI scans, allowing earlier intervention and better quality-of-life. PET imaging of radioactive tracers is more specific than MRI, but the standard tracer used in oncology – [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) – is not useful for imaging the brain. We are seeking a student to help us develop agents that seek out tumour cells more specifically than FDG and can also be engineered to function as therapeutics. The project is flexible depending on the successful candidate’s expertise and interest (e.g., in vivo models of metastatic breast cancer, protein chemistry and/or molecular biology).