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Investigating the presence of protein amyloids in cancer

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Close date
Sunday, 27 February 2022
Academic background
Sciences, Health Sciences
Host campus
Pathology and Biomedical Science (Christchurch)
Dr Christoph Goebl


The aim of this project is to investigate the conversion of the tumour suppressor protein p16 into amyloid and determine its presence in cancer.

We recently discovered that the tumour suppressor p16 can form amyloid fibrils (PMID: 31539802). This is an aggregated protein state that has so far mainly been associated with neurodegenerative diseases. In the amyloid state, p16 is unable to fulfil its native function and might promote tumour formation. p16 is among the most mutated proteins in cancer and the discovery of this novel state might open avenues to novel future treatment options.

The proposed project is embedded in a larger research effort with international collaborators in the US, Canada, Germany and Australia.

Preferred student expertise

Students from any field can apply, enthusiasm is more important than a specific background.

Depending on the interest of the student, they will focus on either a) the detailed mechanism of amyloid formation using diagnostic dyes with recombinant proteins and algorithm development to fit the acquired data with molecular models, or b) the detection of amyloid fibrils from breast and cervical cancer cell lines using antibody-based methods, ideally with protein-state specific conformational nanobodies that we are currently developing.

Further information

This is one of a number of projects on offer for the 2022 intake of BBiomedSc(Hons) at the University of Otago, Christchurch campus.

UOC BBiomedSc(Hons) website

Dr Christoph Goebl's profile

Centre for Free Radical Research website

Department of Pathology and Biomedical Science website


Dr Christoph Goebl