Closing date: 25/03/2024
MB-PhD Project: AI and digital technologies for cancer pathways: assessing promise; delivering impact
Applications Deadline: Monday 25 March 2024
Project Keywords: Digital, AI, Clinical Trials
Research Opportunity: Intercalated PhD, leading to the award of PhD and MBChB
The project supervisor is offering a PhD in the below area during 2024/2025. Work during the Summer Placement might involve some of this work but could vary.
Digital and AI technologies have the potential to transform clinical trials: improving patient access to experimental treatments, generating novel and insightful data, and enabling the vision of personalised trials to improve patient outcomes. The dECMT has recently developed a portfolio of digital and AI tools to address existing challenges in cancer clinical trials. These tools have been developed through a large international collaboration that has allowed us insight into clinical work flows, to develop digital and AI solutions to real-world problems.
This project aims to evaluate the clinical and health system value of these tools, including assessments of their impacts on patients and healthcare professionals – we will be asking questions such as how well do these tools work? Who feels the benefit? What is the best way to measure these impacts, for a range of different digital and AI tools? This will enable an objective assessment of the value of each of the digital and AI tools.
In addition, we aim to build on the results of these individual evaluations, by designing a framework for the evaluation of digital and AI tools for use in clinical trials. Such a framework would enable clearer development cycles for digital and AI tools, by clearly outlining suitable evaluation pathways for a diverse range of such tools. Additionally, this framework would enable those planning clinical trials to better understand what kind of evaluation evidence can be used to identify tools that are likely to deliver real-world benefits to clinical trial processes.
About Dr Andre Freitas (project Lead Supervisor)
André Freitas leads the Reasoning & Explainable AI Lab at the Department of Computer Science at The University of Manchester and is a research group leader at the Idiap Research Institute. He is also the AI group leader at the digital Experimental Cancer Medicine Team (CancerResearchUK).
His main research interests are on enabling the development of AI methods to support abstract, explainable and flexible inference. In particular, he investigates how the combination of neural and symbolic data representation paradigms can deliver better inference. Some of his research topics include: explanation generation, natural language inference, explainable question answering, knowledge graphs and open information extraction. He is actively engaged in collaboration projects with industrial and clinical partners.
About the lab group
Find out more about the lab group involved in this project and how we support your wellbeing, learning and career development.
CBC students are embedded in a supportive network of integrated teams with day-to-day supervision by team leads and deputies.
We have 3 clinical fellows and 9 students currently.This student hosted will have an amazing opportunity at the vanguard of contemporary biomarker science, including artificial intelligence approaches, exploring the utility of digital tools to enhance patient experience and improve patient outcomes.
The lead supervisor will meet regularly with the student to discuss progress and plan next steps with lead clinical supervisor(aCBC alumnus),the dECMT team lead and CBC director.
We will ensure that they develop a wealth of research skills to deliver a high impact project. CBC has a long track record in successful supervision of clinical fellows, many of whom have gone onto become leading clinical trials, some leading national clinical trials and all are steeped in translational research.
CBC is a welcoming environment, where basic translational and clinical scientists work in tandem with mutual respect.
The student will benefit from:
- weekly dECMT meetings-the student will appreciate how their project aligns within their team’s project portfolio
- monthly CBC meetings-all members attend and there is a rota for presentations, so that the student will get exposed to the broad remit ofCBC research
- CRUK MI, MCRC and DCS seminars – broadening cancer research knowledge
- routine interactions with the Phase I ClinicalTrials unit-numerous clinical trials
All students are closely supervised at the start and are encouraged to think independently about their project with opportunities to discuss their ideas at team meetings. Dr Carter will assume clinical career mentorship.
We will advise on how best to achieve work-life balance whilst ensuring the project advances.
CBC team structure and relationship with the clinic requires in person attendance for core hours.
Find answers to some common questions about our MB-PhD summer placement.
To apply for our MB-PhD summer placement, you must be:
A University of Manchester MBChB student:
- currently studying in Year 1 or 2
A University of St Andrews Medicine BSc (Hons) student on the Manchester course pathway:
- currently studying in Year 1 or 2
International applicants (including EU nationals) must ensure they meet the relevant academic eligibility criteria (including English Language).
Placement weeks will be arranged between students and supervisors over the summer before the start of the next academic year (2-6 September).
University of St Andrews students can apply for funding from their university to cover expenses.
These placements are unpaid but students at The University of Manchester interested in undertaking a summer placement and unable to do so due to financial reasons should get in touch with Georgina Binnie-Wright, Postgraduate Programme Manager, at MCRCTraining@manchester.ac.uk, to discuss.
Students who are interested in this opportunity should send the following details to Georgina Binnie-Wright, Postgraduate Programme Manager, at MCRCTraining@manchester.ac.uk:
- Your name
- Current year of MBChB study
- Are you intending to apply to the MB-PhD programme in future? (Yes/No)
- Are you applying for this opportunity due to a general interest in academic research? (Yes/No)
- 200 words maximum on why you are interested in a placement
- Lab preference(s)
Depending on how much interest is shown, preference may be given to students who are eligible to apply to the MB-PhD programme in the 2024-25 recruitment round.
Expressions of interest should be returned by Monday 25 March 2024.
- Application deadline: 25 March 2024
Find out more about our MB-PhD Studentships which allow you to study a fully-funded PhD alongside your medical degree.
Read first-hand experiences of from cancer scientists from across Manchester.