For more information please contact Prof. dr. Kim De Keersmaecker, tel.: +32 16 37 31 67, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can apply for this job no later than February 29, 2020 via the online application tool
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The laboratory for Disease Mechanisms in Cancer (KU Leuven, Belgium, www.LDMC.be) is looking for a motivated PhD researcher. Many labs, including ours, have performed exome and transcriptome sequencing on large series of tumor samples with the aim to discover cancer driver mutations. In most studies, only mutations that cause amino acid changes are considered, assuming that synonymous mutations in protein coding regions are meaningless. Nevertheless, several experimentally tested synonymous mutations have been ascribed a causative role in disease. Our data support that synonymous nucleotide changes can enhance gene expression and cell transformation via novel mechanisms, independent of splicing, and hence we hypothesize that the role of synonymous mutations in cancer is underestimated.
The PhD student will be involved in developing bioinformatics and statistics approaches to delineate the landscape of synonymous driver mutations in publically available cancer genomics datasets. Mutational effects on functional DNA or RNA elements will be assessed and integrated in a ranking of mutations according to their likeliness to be cancer drivers. Top candidate driver synonymous mutations will be experimentally tested for effects on gene expression and cancer cell behavior by colleagues in the lab, with special attention for mutations that are expected to affect novel modes of protein translation dysregulation, as our lab has extensive expertise in this field.
You might also have the following relevant expertises:
Starting date: to be negotiated