Vacant PhD position for cancer stem cell research in melanoma
In the Dept. Medical Diagnostic Sciences, Lab. Morphology and Molecular Pathology (K.U.Leuven), a PhD position is available to obtain a doctoral degree (start 2008). The study is situated in the field of melanoma and cancer stem cells (CSC). Melanoma are very prevalent and highly malignant neoplasms. Initiation, growth, metastasis and therapy resistance of these tumors are currently far from understood. The new and exciting concept in cancer biology that tumors contain a small stem cell population that drive the tumor, will have significant impact on future cancer research and therapy. It is obvious that a cancer will only be completely cured when these tumor-steering CSC are exhaustively eradicated.
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The PhD student will search for CSC in melanoma using the so-called ‘side population’ (SP) phenotype. In many tissues and tumors, the SP represents a stem cell-enriched cell compartment. SP cells are identified by FACS (fluorescence activated cell sorting) on the basis of Hoechst-dye efflux capacity. SP cells will be isolated and scrutinized for stem-cell characteristics by genome-wide expression (microarray) analysis and tumorigenic assays, both in vitro and in vivo (mouse models). In addition, a tissue-based approach using melanoma specimens before and after high-dose chemotherapy, will be pursued to identify unique phenotypical markers of (therapy-resistant) CSC in melanoma. We expect that our study will unravel markers and signaling pathways that allow to localize and study melanoma CSC in situ, and that may represent novel prognostic biomarkers and/or targets for better and more efficient therapies.
The PhD candidate should have a strong interest in translational biomedical research in general, and in cancer and stem cell research in particular. The candidate should have a Master degree in Pharmacy, Biomedical Sciences, Medicine, Biology, or Agricultural Sciences (Bio-engineer).
The selected candidate can start immediately for a period of 4 years.
If you are interested, please send your application with CV by email to:
Dr. Joost van den Oord (Lab. Morphology and Molecular Pathology; [email protected])
Dr. Hugo Vankelecom (Dept. Molecular Cell Biology, Lab. Tissue Plasticity; [email protected])