PhD position in Molecular Biology

University of Luxembourg
August 21 2017
Life Sciences, Biology
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

The University of Luxembourg is a multilingual, international research University.


A Phd Position is available in the MicroRNA team of the Life Science Research Unit, Luxembourg University, Luxembourg, in the framework of the Doctoral Training Unit CriTiCS on Critical Transitions in Complex Systems.


Project title: Combine molecular biology and bioinformatics to study transitions from healthy skin to melanoma cancer cells


Supervisor: Dr. Stephanie Kreis.

Start Date: flexible from December 2017 to September 2018.

Closing date for applications: open until filled.

Funding: full funding available for up to 4 years, with a highly competitive salary.


Candidate profile:

  • Strong background in molecular biology.

  • Hold (or being about to obtain) a Master degree in Molecular Biology, Cancer Biology, Bioinformatics, Systems Biology or related field.

  • Excellent working knowledge of English.

  • If not already covered in their background, students will also learn advanced methods of data analysis and will get basic background in theory of dynamical systems.


This position is part of the interdisciplinary Doctoral Training Unit CriTiCS which encompasses 11 PhD positions and confronts the topic of critical transitions in complex systems within a range of disciplines.


To apply and for further information:


The University of Luxembourg is an equal opportunity employer. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.


Project description:

The aim of the project is to characterise melanoma development and identify predicting signals. Dynamic aspects of miRNA and mRNA expression patterns and their interplay over time have been a focus of Stephanie Kreis's group. This cancer generally begins with the transition of benign naevus or healthy skin into a primary melanoma lesion from where it progresses rapidly to metastatic disease if not excised or treated. Once metastatised, melanoma has one of the most dismal prognosis and shortest life expectancy of all cancers.

Over the years Stephanie Kreis's group has acquired expertise in working with melanoma cell systems and fresh tissue material. It has established contacts with dermatological clinics for high quality patient samples (also over time). The group has in place state-of-the-art techniques and pipelines for analysing the miRNomes, transcriptomes and genomes from tissue and blood samples by NGS sequencing, qPCR arrays or microarrays. Exosomes can be readily isolated from tissue culture and patient samples and Stephanie Kreis's group is currently establishing the methodology for analysing exosome content. The molecular biological techniques required for analysis and validation of identified key players in transitional processes are available. The project will use these data to develop methods and models to predict critical transitions from a healthy/benign cell state to a cancerous/malignant state.

The PhD student with a background in biology will first learn all necessary techniques using cultured cells and will participate in establishing different procedures to transform healthy melanocytes into tumour cells. Next, the student will generate the required data sets on sequential samples before moving onto patient samples. The analysis of NGS data sets will be performed in close collaboration with scientists from the Luxembourg Center for Systems Biomedicine, and the Life Science Research Unit.

Link to apply :

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess