Investigating local invasion in primary and secondary brain tumours


Brain tumours are highly invasive and carry a poor prognosis. Secondary brain tumours or brain metastases (BM) are the most common tumours found in the brain affecting up to one third of patients with solid organ cancer. Brain tumours are treated with a combination of surgery, radiotherapy and systemically administered drugs, including in some cases immunotherapy.


Our research group which encompasses neurosurgery, veterinary surgery, neuropathology, radiology, immuno-oncology and BBB biologists is developing a number of projects examining the mechanisms of local invasion in brain tumours and the tumour/microenvironmental drivers and modulators of this process. This has implications for clinical diagnostics and therapeutics. Projects leverage the UoL Shared Research Facilities including multi-omics, spatial transcriptomics at the Centre for Genomic Research and 9T small animal MRI, PET and bioluminescent imaging at the Centre for Preclinical Imaging.


The group is translational with surgically obtained tissue driving laboratory investigations, models and hypotheses which can then be taken back to the clinic. There is a strong background of delivering pragmatic clinical trials in neuro-oncology along with the partner NHS Foundation trust, The Walton Centre which also hosts a comprehensive, ethically approved tissue bank.


Applications and enquiries directly to the main supervisor via email with CV and covering letter.


Open to students worldwide

Funding information

Self-funded project

The project is open to both European/UK and International students. It is UNFUNDED and applicants are encouraged to contact the Principal Supervisor directly to discuss their application and the project.

Assistance will be given to those who are applying to international funding schemes.

The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses as well as research costs.

New self-funded applicants may be eligible for a tuition fees bursary.

Details of costs can be found on the University website:



  1. Immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment of brain metastasis associated with a less invasive growth pattern, higher T-cell infiltration and raised tumor ADC on diffusion weighted MRI. Zakaria R, Jenkinson MD, Radon M, Das K, Poptani H, Rathi N, Rudland PS. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2023 Oct;72(10):3387-3393
  2. The Role of the Immune Response in Brain Metastases: Novel Imaging Biomarkers for Immunotherapy. Zakaria R, Radon M, Mills S, Mitchell D, Palmieri C, Chung C, Jenkinson MD. Front Oncol. 2021 Oct 26;11:711405
  3. T-Cell Densities in Brain Metastases Are Associated with Patient Survival Times and Diffusion Tensor MRI Changes. Zakaria R, Platt-Higgins A, Rathi N, Radon M, Das S, Das K, Bhojak M, Brodbelt A, Chavredakis E, Jenkinson MD, Rudland PS. Cancer Res. 2018 Feb 1;78(3):610-616