Unraveling resistance mechanisms to PI3K/mTOR inhibition and PD-1 blockade in uterine leiomyosarcoma
The Gynecological Oncology Lab (KU Leuven Oncology Department) and the Laboratory of Translational Genetics (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology) are looking for an enthusiastic and motivated PhD student with a strong interest in translational cancer research and cutting-edge technologies.
Uterine leiomyosarcomas (uLMS) are currently characterized by poor prognosis, mainly because of the aggressive nature of the disease and the limited response to existing treatment options.
Recent developments in uLMS treatment showed the value of targeted treatment approaches for this patient group. Our labs previously showed that the dual inhibition of PI3K and mTOR is a new potential effective treatment strategy in uLMS patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models, but that treatment resistance develops in some models, after an initial response. In addition, we also assessed the expression of PD-L1 in uterine sarcoma patients, providing the rationale to explore PD-1/PD-L1 inhibition in these tumors.
With this project we aim to characterize in detail the response and resistance mechanisms to PI3K/mTOR inhibitors and PD-1 blockade in (humanized) uLMS PDX models.
- A master degree in bio-engineering, biomedical sciences or any related discipline
- Strong motivation and commitment to work on challenging research questions with clinical applicability
- Creative mind and problem-solving attitude
- Interest in tumor biology and tumor immunology
- Eager to learn novel, cutting-edge techniques
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills (spoken and written English)
- Ability to work independently but also as a team player
- Previous experience with mice models, molecular and cellular biology techniques is an advantage
The PhD position will be shared between the Gynecological Oncology Lab and the Translational Genetics Lab. You will be responsible for executing the project under the supervision of Prof Frédéric Amant, Prof Diether Lambrechts, and senior postdocs already working in the labs.
You will have access to use state-of-the-art techniques and will be trained by experts in single cell sequencing, to investigate tumor responses in clinically relevant PDX models.
The position is for one year, with extension to 4 years after positive evaluation.
How to apply?
To apply for this position, you should send:
- Curriculum Vitae
- Motivation letter
- Summary of any previous research activity
- At least one reference letter from previous promoter(s)