Training in Cancer Biology 2 (CANBIO2): Focus on the Tumour Ecosystem

Research Program

CANBIO2 is a state-of-the-art Doctoral Training Unit (DTU) for PhD candidates in cancer research in Luxembourg. Starting in January 2023, it builds on the success and expertise of the first DTU CANBIO while incorporating novel scientific insight and addressing current challenges in the cancer field.

Over the years, it has been recognised that cancer is not just a disease of genetically altered cancer cells, rather cancer cell growth is supported by the organism at various levels. This tumour ecosystem includes multiple factors within the local tumour microenvironment such as tumour-associated fibroblasts, endothelial cells, tumour-infiltrating immune cells, skewed nutrient supply, hypoxia, as well as more distant players such as systemic immunity, cytokines or the microbiome.

Together these conditions shape a supportive tumour milieu fostering tumour growth, progression and metastasis. To address this complex crosstalk, CANBIO2 will focus on the multiple distinct facets of the tumour ecosystem and aims to identify and develop novel strategies that specifically target tumour-host interactions. CANBIO2 will make use of advanced high throughput technologies and apply systems biology approaches to unravel novel targets for treatment.

The DTU is organised in three specific scientific work packages tackling novel cancer models, cancer metabolism and novel treatment strategies in the context of the tumour ecosystem. Individual projects will focus on a molecular, cellular and/or systems approach. Several projects require a data science background and will allow to develop advanced bioinformatics skills.

CANBIO2 will train a new generation of cancer biologists and data scientists able to move from a tumour-centric view to an understanding of the dynamic tumour ecosystem. PhD candidates in this DTU will acquire an in-depth understanding of the complexity of cancer and the associated research questions, and will be trained in state-of-the art technologies and along the value chain that will deliver novel cancer therapies.

Training Environment

CANBIO2 gathers 19 principal investigators from different fields, each supervising one PhD project. CANBIO2 will train 19 PhD candidates conducting their research projects either at research departments of the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) or the University of Luxembourg (UL).

All PhD projects involve short research stays in partner laboratories. Some projects also rely on external collaborations with international partners.

All PhD candidates will be enrolled in the Doctoral School in Science and Engineering of the University of Luxembourg for PhD studies in the discipline of Natural Sciences.

PhD candidates will have multiple training opportunities to acquire sound scientific, translational and transferable skills and prepare for their future career. In particular, they will participate in “clinical dive” events to meet and exchange on various topics with clinical experts.

PhD projects will be monitored on a yearly basis by a Thesis Advisory Committee. PhD candidates will also establish a Doctoral Education Agreement during the first six months of their PhD studies including an individual research and training plan.


CANBIO2 is coordinated by the LIH Department of Cancer Research, with the co-coordinators Dr Elisabeth Letellier and Dr Johannes Meiser. The DTU is governed by a Consortium Committee composed of all PhD supervisors and elected PhD representatives and a NQFDT Committee responsible for the compliance with the National Quality Framework for Doctoral Training (NQFDT). A Scientific Advisory Board provides key input on research and training. The coordinator reports to the FNR funding body.


CANBIO2 is coordinated by the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) and is supported over a period of 6.5 years (January 2023 – June 2029) by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) through the competitive PRIDE funding scheme and through intramural funds from LIH and UL. The FNR funding covers the PhD candidates’ salary for four years and includes a generous training & mobility allowance.

discover CANBIO2


Projects – WP1 – Novel Cancer Models

Projects – WP2 – Cancer Metabolism

Projects – WP3 – Novel Treatment Strategies

Training & Development


For any question related to CANBIO2, please contact:

our open positions

We offer 15 fully funded PhD positions with a fixed-term work contract of up to 4 years.

We are seeking excellent and highly motivated candidates holding a Master’s degree in a field related to the topics of the DTU. Very good English language skills are required. The earliest start date will be September 2023.

Please visit our LIH Jobs Portal to apply.