PhD positions – Cystic Fibrosis project

Leuven VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology

12 Oct 2017


VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology

Peter Carmeliet Lab, Laboratory of Angiogenesis and Vascular Metabolism




The Center for Cancer Biology (CCB) is one of the research departments of VIB (Vlaams Instituut Biotechnologie) located in KU Leuven – Campus Gasthuisberg. CCB hosts 12 research groups with an employment of about 250 researchers, administrative and technical collaborators.

The laboratory of Professor Peter Carmeliet is especially focusing on the development of blood vessels (Angiogenesis) and vascular metabolism, and consists of 60 driven researchers and lab technicians.

 The Lab is looking for a dynamic and highly motivated PhD student to join the team.

The focus of the lab is to characterize cell metabolism and its role in endothelial cells (ECs), cells lining the blood vessels. When deregulated, endothelial metabolism participates in the development of several pathologies including cancer, diabetes and hypertension. Recent evidence indicates that cystic fibrosis (CF) - the most frequent life-shortening genetic disorder in the Caucasian population - also presents endothelial perturbations. In this project, we will focus on the identification of the underlying metabolic perturbations of EC defects and understanding the pathophysiology of CF-associated liver disease (CFLD). After pulmonary disease, CFLD is the second non-transplant related cause of mortality and therefore of high interest.

The selected PhD candidate will work under the supervision of Prof. Peter Witters (promotor), a clinician from UZ Leuven and a specialist in CFLD and will be co-supervised by Prof. Peter Carmeliet (co-promotor), a researcher at KU Leuven-VIB and an expert in endothelial metabolism and angiogenesis. This innovative project combines genetically-silenced in vitro and in vivo models with a patient-derived ex vivo EC model. We aim to further unravel this disease and discover possible new targets for treatment. Currently, no specific therapeutic agent has been approved for treatment and prevention of CFLD.

Job description

You are responsible for: 

  • Leading your research project, under the direct co-supervision of Prof. Peter Witters and Prof. Peter Carmeliet (co-promotor) with motivated postdoctoral fellows
  • Participating in weekly team meetings to update your research results
  • Participating in high-level seminars


  • You have a Master degree in biomedical sciences, bio-engineering, medicine or any related discipline
  • Any experience in molecular biology, biochemistry, cell culture, cancer/metabolism, etc. is an advantage
  • Motivated students with a strong commitment to basic and/or clinical research are invited to apply
  • You should have well-developed social skills, a hands-on attitude and be able to work in a team
  • You have good communication skills in spoken and written English (proven knowledge of English is required)

We offer

  • Excellent training conditions within a team of experts in the field of angiogenesis and metabolism and clinicians
  • Access to state-of-the-art technologies in biomedical research
  • The opportunity to be part of a multidisciplinary international cutting-edge research lab (with English as main language) and working on high-impact projects
  • The initial appointment is for one year starting as soon as possible and with possibility for extension up to three years

How to apply?

Your online application should contain:

  • CV
  • Motivation letter
  • Publication list (if applicable)
  • Summary of your previous research experience
  • Degrees during Master studies
  • Reference letter(s) from previous (master thesis) promoter and/or supervisors.