Postdoctoral position in single-cell cancer genomics

31 August 2020

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For more information please contact Mrs. Ingrid Arijs, tel.: +32 16 37 74 61, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than December 01, 2020 via the online application tool

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

Ref. BAP-2020-722

Apply before 01 December 2020

The Laboratory of Translational Genetics (headed by Diether Lambrechts) at the VIB Center for Cancer Biology in KU Leuven is located in the University Hospital Campus, Leuven, Belgium. The lab has longstanding collaborations with oncologists at the University Hospital Leuven and conducts translational research in numerous clinical trials run by the oncologists.

Currently, the lab is capitalizing on these connections with an ambitious new initiative that aims to merge the exciting new field of single-cell analysis with clinical studies collecting tumor biopsies serially sampled from patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors and/or angiogenesis inhibitors. Via a single-cell accelerator initiative, the lab has early access to the newest single-cell multi-omics technologies (scRNA-seq, scATAC-seq, scDNA-seq, CITE-seq, ECCITE-seq and spatial profiling). Currently, the major focus of the lab is to characterize how the tumor micro-environment determines tumor behavior and response to cancer therapies.

Selected publications:

1. Thienpont et al. Tumor hypoxia causes DNA hypermethylation by reducing TET activity. Nature 2016;537(7618): p. 63-68.

2. Lambrechts et al. Phenotype molding of stromal cells in the lung tumor microenvironment. Nature Medicine 2018;24(8):1277-128.

3. D’Anna et al. DNA methylation repels binding of HIF transcription 1 factors to maintain tumour immunotolerance. Genome Biology, 2020.

4. Qian et al. A pan-cancer blueprint of the heterogeneous tumor microenvironment revealed by single-cell profiling. Cell Research, 2020.

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In your role as postdoc, you will have the opportunity to shape and lead single-cell analysis projects to elaborate why immune cells behave differently in the tumor micro-environment in terms of cancer immunotherapy response. You will be in charge and spearheading this exciting and state-of-the-art research project, but you must also have good communication skills, have a collaborative spirit and be willing to work as part of a research team. You provide advice and guidance to PhD students where applicable. You need to be able to organize and troubleshoot your work independently, document it thoroughly and communicate results and experience with the team in a transparent and professional manner.


We are looking for a postdoc who is highly motivated, well organized and dynamic with a high level of independence and creative thinking:

  • PhD with a topic in one of the following areas: (cancer) immunology, bioinformatics,computational biology, molecular biology or similar.
  • Experience in one of the following topics is not required, but considered a plus: broad bioinformatics experience with a good working knowledge of genomics / pathway biology / (cancer) immunology and scientific expertise in next generation sequencing technologies and (statistical) data analysis.
  • Practical skills (wet lab activities) in molecular biology/immunology are also a plus.
  • Working proficiency in appropriate programming languages and software (eg. R, Python)
  • High intrinsic motivation and a strong scientific curiosity.
  • Ability to be inventive and to present novel ideas in method development, data analysis and interpretation.
  • Teamplayer that can work independently in a multidisciplinary (international) team
  • Excellent oral and written English communication skills
  • Proactive,flexible, and problem-solving attitude
  • Experience in working with deadlines and being involved in multiple projects
  • Duration:a full-time contract for one year with the possibility to extend up to a max.of 3 years. You are stimulated to apply for a postdoctoral fellowship.
  • The position is immediately available.
  • (Early) access to state-of-the-art technologies.
  • A stimulating (international, multidisciplinary) research environment where quality, professionalism and team spirit are encouraged.
  • The ability to work on scientifically exceptional and high impact, state-of-the-art projects.
  • The opportunity to be part o en is one of the most innovative universities in Europe. Leuven is located 20 min. from Brussels, in the center of Europe.