POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW in Cancer Invasion Research - CT0120

Invadopodia are actin-rich membrane protrusions that facilitate tumor cell invasion through dense extracellular matrix (ECM) by recruiting transmembrane and secreted metalloproteinases (MMPs) able to catalyze ECM component degradation, and creating pores through which mesenchymal tumor cells can migrate. We recently identified CRP2 (cysteine- and glycine-rich protein 2) as a critical, cytoskeletal component of invadopodia (Hoffmann et al. 2016 Oncotarget 7: 13688-13705; Hoffmann et al. 2018 Scientific Reports 8: 10191). From a mechanistic standpoint, we found that CRP2 promotes invadopodia formation and elongation by stabilizing their actin core, which serves as a backbone of the structure. In addition, CRP2 shuttles to the nucleus where it drives expression of pro-metastatic genes, including several members of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family involved in ECM remodeling and which are associated with cancer cell invasion and metastasis (Brown-Clay et al. in revision).
84, rue Val Fleuri, Luxembourg L-1526, Luxembourg
17/01/2020 14:12:08
the project

Interestingly, CRP2 is often strongly present in non-cancer cells, particularly cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) in the surrounding microenvironment, suggesting an additional role for CRP2 in the stromal compartment. Based on our preliminary data we hypothesize that, in addition to increasing the (intrinsic) invasive capability of breast cancer cells, CRP2 also contributes to the CAF phenotype, and thereby facilitates ECM remodeling and breast cancer cell dissemination through a cancer cell extrinsic mechanism. This project aims to evaluate this hypothesis, elucidate the underlying molecular mechanism(s) and determine the prevalence and significance of stromal CRP2 in human breast cancer.

Research environment

The Cytoskeleton and Cancer Progression (CCP) group  belongs to the Department of Oncology, whose activities focus on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of tumor progression using a wide range of cutting edge technologies, including genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic analyses, and in vitro and in vivo imaging modalities as well as state-of-the art animal models for cancer research. The CCP group focuses on actin regulatory proteins and related signaling pathways driving tumor cell invasion and immune evasion (Al Absi et al. 2018 Cancer Research 78: 5631-5643), with the goal to identify new prognostic markers and therapeutic targets. We combine biochemistry, cell biology, reverse-genetics and advanced live-cell imaging approaches as well as mouse models of breast cancer metastasis.

  • PhD in Biomedical Sciences. Prior experience in (breast) cancer research and/or in cytoskeleton-driven processes would be an advantage.
  • Hands-on experience in experimental lab work using invasion/migration assays.
  • Experience in cell imaging approaches.
  • Experience in animal experimentation. FELASA or equivalent would be considered as an asset.
  • Excellent planning and communication skills. Perseverance, originality, writing skills.
  • Fluency in English is mandatory.

For more information please contact: Clément Thomas:

REF.: CM/pdf0120/ct/LECR
2 year Fixed-term contract - Full time - Available immediately