Dr Anu Datta

Clinical PhD Student

Dr Anu Datta

Meet Dr Anu Datta. He’s a Specialist Registrar in Radiology and is undertaking a clinical PhD which is funded by Cancer Research UK. The aim of his PhD is to understand if genetic and imaging biomarkers can optimise patient stratification when receiving curative radiotherapy for cervical cancer.

Anu started his PhD project in 2019 and completed his project in 2023.

What is your background?

I am a specialist registrar in Radiology with an interest in cancer imaging and minimally invasive treatments. I was working as a ST5 trainee in Manchester before I started my PhD and I’m currently in my second year of research.


What is the aim of your research?

At its very core, the project aims to better our understanding of how cervical tumour oxygenation evolves during radiotherapy by identifying biomarkers that reflect hypoxia. This involves developing and validating a transcriptomic biomarker, and investigating the progression of MRI based biomarkers during treatment. These biomarkers can then be used to stratify patients, monitor treatment response and alter therapy.


Who do you work / collaborate with?

The project’s framework has given me the opportunity to work closely with people from a whole host of backgrounds including biologists, physicists, mathematicians, bio-informaticians and computational scientists just to name a few! As this is a clinical study, I have also enjoyed getting to know and working with healthcare workers from departments outside of my own.


Who is your PhD funded by?

My PhD is funded by Cancer Research UK.


Where is your PhD based?

I’m primarily based at the Oglesby Cancer Research Building and the clinical study is at the Christie Hospital. We have some research imaging facilities within the Stopford building on main campus.

I love the exposure to the different science groups, the proximity of the OCRB to the Christie Hospital, and how closely the University and CRUK work.

Dr Anu Datta

Clinical PhD Student

Why did you apply to the MCRC PhD scheme?

The cancer sciences PhDs offered via the MCRC scheme are outstanding. They offer the chance to develop the latest research using cutting-edge technologies and under the supervision of world leading experts. As a proud Mancunian, I wanted to stay in the region and apply for a PhD in my area of interest – both of these things were offered by the scheme.


What do you love most about working with the MCRC?

I love the exposure to the different science groups, the proximity of the OCRB to the Christie Hospital, and how closely the University and CRUK work.


What have been your proudest moments so far?

Some of my research highs have been when presenting work at radiotherapy and imaging conferences. I really enjoy discussing and sharing ideas with other researchers.


What opportunities has the MCRC provided you with?

The MCRC allows me to access both the University and CRUK lab services. Often the services provided are complimentary and everything I need to deliver my project is easily accessed via their respective websites. The MCRC offers daily transport services between the OCRB and Alderley Park sites which is very useful!


When I’m not working in the lab, the MCRC also offers an incredible array of lectures. These include in-house talks from fellow students and others from global experts in all things related to cancer research. I’ve been inspired by things I’ve heard and brought the ideas into my own project. FYI – These are usually recorded so you can watch them whenever you like.


What is it like working with your supervisor and team?

My supervisors are brilliant. They are very supportive and always have time for me. The Gynae-Onc clinical research team are unbelievably hardworking and I’m really enjoying working with them.


What support have you received whilst at the MCRC?

The MCRC have financially supported my travel to meetings and conferences.


What do you hope to achieve whilst at the MCRC?

There are three milestones I would like to achieve during my time here – deliver a clinical study, improve our shared understanding of hypoxia biomarkers, and publish in a high-impact factor journal.


What are your plans/aspirations after your PhD?

At the end of my PhD, I would like to integrate my speciality training in a 50% academic and 50% clinical post, hopefully as a NIHR Clinical Lectureship.

A Day in the Life of an MCRC Clinical Research Training Fellow

Anu is a Clinical Research Training Fellow in cancer research. This 'Day in the Life' gives us a glimpse into what it is like to be a PhD student in Manchester.

Screen grab of Anu Datta, a Clinical Research Training Fellow

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