About the lab
The Laboratory of Translational Genetics (headed by Diether Lambrechts) at the VIB Center for Cancer Biology in KU Leuven is located in the University Hospital Campus, Leuven, Belgium. The lab has longstanding collaborations with oncologists at the University Hospital Leuven and conducts translational research in numerous clinical trials run by the oncologists.
Currently, the lab is capitalizing on these connections with an ambitious new initiative that aims to merge the exciting new field of single-cell analysis with clinical studies collecting tumor biopsies serially sampled from patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors and/or angiogenesis inhibitors. Via a single-cell accelerator initiative, the lab has early access to the newest single-cell multi-omics technologies (scRNA-seq, ATAC-seq, DNA-seq, CITE-seq, CROP-seq and spatial profiling).
Currently, the major focus of the lab is to characterize how the tumor micro-environment determines tumor behavior and response to cancer therapies. This exciting and actual research line bears a lot of translational potential, as managing the levels of hypoxia in solid tumors by anti-angiogenic strategies represents a major yet incompletely understood challenge, while the field of immunotherapy is rapidly expanding - yet desperately in need of biomarkers predicting clinical response.
In your role as postdoc, you will have the opportunity to shape and lead single-cell analysis projects to elaborate why immune cells behave differently in the tumor micro-environment in terms of cancer immunotherapy response.
You will be in charge and spearheading this exciting and state-of-the-art research project, but you must also have good communication skills, have a collaborative spirit and be willing to work as part of a research team. You provide advice and guidance to PhD students where applicable.
You need to be able to organize and troubleshoot your work independently, document it thoroughly and communicate results and experience with the team in a transparent and professional manner.
We are looking for a postdoc who is highly motivated, well organized and dynamic with a high level of independence and creative thinking:
- PhD with a topic in one of the following areas: (cancer) immunology, bioinformatics, computational biology, molecular biology or similar.
- Experience in one of the following topics is not required, but considered a plus: broad bioinformatics experience with a good working knowledge of genomics / pathway biology / (cancer) immunology and scientific expertise in next generation sequencing technologies and (statistical) data analysis. Practical skills (wet lab activities) in molecular biology/immunology are also a plus.
- Working proficiency in appropriate programming languages and software (eg. R, Python)
- High intrinsic motivation and a strong scientific curiosity.
- Ability to be inventive and to present novel ideas in method development, data analysis and interpretation.
- Team player that can work independently in a multidisciplinary (international) team
- Excellent oral and written English communication skills
- Proactive, flexible, and problem-solving attitude
- Experience in working with deadlines and being involved in multiple projects
- Duration: a full-time contract for one year with the possibility to extend up to a max. of 3 years. You are stimulated to apply for a postdoctoral fellowship.
- The position is immediately available.
- (Early) access to state-of-the-art technologies.
- A stimulating (international, multidisciplinary) research environment where quality, professionalism and team spirit are encouraged.
- The ability to work on scientifically exceptional and high impact, state-of-the-art projects.
- The opportunity to be part of a young and dynamic team and to provide a meaningful contribution to genetic and oncological research.
- The University of Leuven is one of the most innovative universities in Europe. Leuven is located 20 min. from Brussels, in the center of Europe.
- Thienpont et al. Tumor hypoxia causes DNA hypermethylation by reducing TET activity. Nature 2016;537(7618): p. 63-68.
- Vanderstichele et al. Chromosomal instability in cell-free DNA as a highly specific biomarker for detection of ovarian cancer in women with adnexal masses. Clinical Cancer Research, 2017. 23(9): p. 2223-2231.
- Lambrechts et al. Phenotype molding of stromal cells in the lung tumor microenvironment. Nature Medicine 2018;24(8):1277-128.
- Smeets et al. Copy number load predicts outcome of metastatic colorectal cancer patients receiving bevacizumab combination therapy. Nat Commun, 2018. 9: p. 4112.
- Heylen et al. Age-related changes in DNA methylation affect renal histology and post-transplant fibrosis. Kidney Int. 2019 Nov;96(5):1195-1204.
How to apply?
Motivated candidates are asked to apply online.
All applications must include:
- A presentation letter describing your motivation
- A full CV including contact details, a list of your publications
- Contacts for further references