PhD Studentship in Radiation Oncology & Experimental Cancer Research, Ghent University, Belgium

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Invasive growth of a tumor occurs within an ecosystem where a continuous communication exists between cancer cells and a wide network of tumor-associated myofibroblasts. Secretory factors from the cancer cells activate the recruitment of myofibroblasts, both near to and far from the primary tumor site, as well as they promote the departure of cancer cells and myofibroblast precursors (such as bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells, MSC) to distant tissues (FASEBJ 2004; JNCI 2010; Cancer Res 2010).

There is no doubt that preoperative radio(chemo)therapy may increase life expectancy however tumors recurring within a previously irradiated field are associated with higher risk of metastasis and poorer prognosis compared with recurrences outside the irradiated area. This is a clinically relevant situation because 10% to 20% of the patients treated with radiotherapy will relapse within the irradiated field and progress to form metastases. The goal of this research project will be to elucidate whether radiotherapy-induced changes in tumor-associated myofibroblasts affect cancer invasion and metastasis by using different molecular techniques in a colorectal cancer model.

We offer a stimulating environment for the scientific development of the candidate. Through support of senior PhD students and post-doctoral scientists and close interaction with clinicians (department of surgery, radiotherapy, oncology), the candidate will be able to finalize a PhD thesis independently (in +/-4 years). The project and candidate is funded by BOF (Bijzonder OnderzoeksFonds) and VLK (Vlaamse Liga tegen Kanker)

Interested candidates preferentially have a degree of master in the biotechnology, biomedical sciences, bio-engineering, medical doctor or an equivalent degree. They have obtained good study results (at least distinction) during their education and they show a genuine interest and motivation to perform scientific research.

Skills to work in a lab environment, interest in molecular research techniques, functional assays and animal models.

Perform teamwork (the project is interdisciplinary and is a typical example of team science)
Have a critical, problem solving and results-oriented attitude.
Eager to learn and work independently

Send you CV + motivation letter to Prof. Dr. Olivier De Wever (

Last application date: 2011-07-31 13:45
Department: GE17 - Department of Radiation oncology and experimental cancer research

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the above information is current and correct. However, applicants should contact the appropriate administering body before making an application, as details do change frequently.


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