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The University of Southampton

Chemistry Research Fellow receives funding for cancer research in Brazil

Published: 29 May 2018
Frank Longford
Dr Frank Longford

We are pleased to announce that Chemistry Research Fellow, Dr Frank Longford, has been awarded funding by the University of Southampton’s Global Research Initiator Scheme.

An alumni of the University of Southampton's Institute for Complex Systems Simulation (ICSS), Frank completed his PhD in 2017, and now carries out research based around computationally modelling emergent behaviour in the natural world.

On completion of his PhD, Frank was awarded funding for a 1 year postdoc at the university through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Doctoral Prize scheme, under the supervision of Professor Jeremy Frey.

Currently, Frank investigates how cancer can alter the structure of collagen fibres that surround human cells. As part of his research, he has built a simulation of the collagen network to test its response to a cancerous growth. Using this model, Frank can train algorithms to detect different structural regions in the collagen network and then apply these to real tumour biopsies. It is hoped that these computational tools may lead to earlier diagnosis methods or greater possibilities for future treatment. 

Frank applied for funding to visit the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG) in Brazil through the University of Southampton’s Global Partnership Award Series, which has multiple scholarships and awards available for early career researchers looking to develop projects with international partners. While there he will work within the UFMG’s Biophotonics Laboratory alongside physicists and clinicians to develop method of cancer diagnosis using collaging imaging.

Dr Longford said: “I'm thrilled to have been awarded funding to visit Brazil during August 2018, and to be able to apply my simulation work to help develop new methods to diagnose prostate cancer.”

“I also hope to initiate a fruitful collaboration with the Biophotonics Laboratory of Professor Ana Maria de Paula, so as to encourage more research visits and student exchanges between the University of Southampton and UFMG.”

“The award is extra special for me, since I began developing my current postdoc project during an academic visit to UFMG in 2015, supported by Southampton and the Brazilian research foundation FAPEMIG. Therefore, to return to Brazil and put these ideas into practice is really rewarding.”


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