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Understanding how tumours adapt to chromosomal instability and evolve to promote an aggressive disease

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Academic background
Health Sciences
Host campus
PhD, Honours, Master’s
Pathology (Dunedin)
Dr Sunali Mehta


Cancer is a major health burden in New Zealand and accounts for one in three deaths.

Cancer related deaths are mainly due to spread of the disease (metastasis) and resistance to treatment. These features are a result of tumour evolution, which is driven by continuous changes in DNA, and one such process is called chromosomal instability (CIN).

The student project will aim to use cutting edge technology including long read sequencing, CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing and live cell imaging to characterise how tumour cells adapt to CIN, which in turn allows these cells to spread to distant organs and develop resistance to treatment. Results from this study will enable us to identify ways of targeting pathways that promote CIN in tumours and as a result treat aggressive cancers that are resistant to treatment.


Sunali Mehta