PhD Student in Cancer Immunology/Signalling - AC0120

29, rue Henri Koch, Esch-sur-Alzette L-4354, Luxembourg
17/01/2020 14:11:53
The group of Immuno-Pharmacology and Interactomics of the Department of Infection and Immunity conducts fundamental and translational research on the pharmacology, signalling and interactome of immune receptors and the modulation of protein-protein interactions involved in acute and chronic inflammatory diseases, viral infections and cancer. The main research interest revolves around the molecular mechanisms and cellular functions regulated by chemokine receptors (G protein-coupled receptors) and the interactions with their ligands, membrane partners and intracellular signalling effectors. Through this fundamental research we aim at developing antibodies and small molecules with anti-viral, anti-tumoral or immunomodulatory properties targeting immune receptors or their interacting partners.
The chemokine receptor CXCR3 is implicated in many cancers, including glioblastoma, and controls tumour growth, migration and invasion. CXCR3 exists as two major splice variants, CXCR3A and CXCR3B, differing only by the presence of an N-terminal extension in the isoform B. These two isoforms have opposite effects on cancer development, with CXCR3A inducing cell proliferation and invasive phenotype and CXCR3B having pro-apoptotic and anti-proliferative effects. The aim of the project is to decipher the molecular mechanisms underlying the opposing activities of the two CXCR3 isoforms. This question will be addressed by applying different molecular (CRISPR), cellular and pharmacological approaches and further confirmed using patient-derived tumour samples and/or patient-derived orthotopic xenograft models. The ultimate goal of the project will be to provide the molecular basis to design novel biased allosteric modulators, which by binding to CXCR3, induce receptor activity switch, triggering exclusively the anti-tumoral signalling pathways of CXCR3B.

Key Accountabilities
  • Participate in the setting-up of a research project
  • Carry out and finalize a research project by writing a PhD thesis in the view of obtaining a PhD degree
  • Publish her/his results in scientific journals and/or file patents if applicable
  • Disseminate her/his results to the scientific community and the public.
  • Master’s degree (or equivalent) degree in molecular biology, immunology, biomedical sciences or pharmaceutical sciences
  • Excellent time management, rigour, perseverance, scientific creativity and originality, writing skills, conciseness, sense of priority and ability to work with others
  • Scientific background: experience with cell culture techniques and animal handling, strong wet laboratory and analytical skills, background in cancer biology and GPCR will be considered as strong assets
  • Language skills: fluent command of English, knowledge of other languages of the European Union is an asset.

2-year fixed-term work contract (renewable) - Full time - Start-date: January/February 2020