Janet Rhodes is a medical doctor specialising as a general surgeon. She is pursuing a period of dedicated research to complete a PhD and gain the experience she requires to maintain high quality clinical research output throughout her career. Her project focuses on the immune response to colorectal cancer (CRC). Three thousand New Zealanders are diagnosed with CRC every year. Treatment includes surgery, and sometimes chemo- and radio-therapy. Cancers are “staged” on their severity to decide what treatment is safest and most effective. This evaluation has not included the patient’s natural immune response to the cancer. Recent international data found that including a component of the immune response to CRC in staging patients could improve classification and therefore better target existing therapies to individuals. Janet is studying 800 CRC patients to confirm these findings, and to fine-tune assessment of the immune response with the aim of increasing patient survival.