APPLY NOW

 

Applications to our 12 fully funded PhD positions are now closed. Thank you to all the candidates who have applied! 

On 31 March we will announce the preselection results and the call for interviews.

 

WHAT IS INTERCEPT-MDS?

EXPLORING CELL-TO-CELL HETEROGENEITY AND EXPLOITING EPIGENETIC REGULATION FOR THE INTERCEPTION OF MYELOID DISEASE CELLS

INTERCEPT-MDS is an Innovative Training Network of 18 public and private partners from 7 countries.

Through a multidisciplinary and multisectoral approach, our aim is to train Europe’s first experts in the novel field of disease interception: treating a disease before it fully develops by removing altered cells.

SCIENTIFIC EXCELLENCE AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

The highly complementary composition of the INTERCEPT-MDS network will provide all the key expertise and infrastructure to support the scientific excellence of our PhD candidates.

Experts from two sectors (academia and industry) and two research environments (clinical and basic) across Europe will offer a unique multidisciplinary and multisectoral training opportunity in the novel field of disease interception.

Successful applicants will be enrolled in a PhD programme and will receive a structured training programme consisting of soft skill courses, targeted workshops, conferences, retreats, social events and networking.

In addition, our PhD candidates will carry out secondments in other European institutions within the network to provide the needed interactions to achieve research and training excellence, and improve their future career perspectives in academia and the private sector.

VACANCIES LIST

We have the following 12 positions available for highly motivated PhD candidates:

PhD Project 1: Impact of clonal haematopoiesis with indeterminate potential (CHIP) mutations on transcription in single-cells.

The PhD candidate will elucidate how early mutations in CHIP provide a growth advantage and contribute to the emergence of myelodysplastic syndromes. We will take a primarily computational approach but also perform single-cell sequencing experiments. The ideal candidate will have previous knowledge in R and/or other scripting languages (such as Python), experience in working with Linux environment, bash scripting and knowledge of the main molecular biology techniques.

Host institution: Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute. Badalona, Spain.

Supervisors: Marcus Buschbeck and Roberto Malinverni (visit website here).

Envisioned secondments: Erasmus Medical Centre and/or Universitätsklinikum Aachen AöR (The Netherlands and/or Germany, 3 months), MLL Munich Leukemia Laboratory (Germany, 1 month). 

PhD Project 2: Dissect haematopoietic stem cell/progenitor-bone marrow niche (HSCP-BM) interaction on a single cell level in low risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).

The PhD candidate will study the open question in MDS of how HSPCs can gain a clonal advantage in the bone marrow.

Host institution: Erasmus Medical Center. Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Supervisor: Rebekka K. Schneider (visit website here).

Envisioned secondments: University of Bergen (Norway, 2 months), BioBam Bioinformatics (Spain, 2 months).

PhD Project 3: Cross-talk between single haematopoietic stem cell/progenitors (HSCP) and bone marrow (BM) niche in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and secondary-type acute myeloid leukaemia (sAML).

The PhD candidate will study how aging and disease influences communication between stem and stroma cells. The candidate will be able to distinguish intrinsic and extrinsic alterations and identify pathways and factors that can be further evaluated for as drug targets.

Host institution: Klinikum rechts der Isar der TU München. Munich, Germany.

Supervisor: Katharina Götze (visit website here).

Envisioned secondments: GenomeScan B.V. (The Netherlands, 3 months), Institute for Tumor Biology and Experimental Therapy, Georg-Speyer-Haus (Germany, 3 months).

PhD Project 4: Phenotypic heterogeneity of myelodysplastic cells and influence of epigenetic therapies.

The PhD candidate will report, for the first time at the single cell level, the evolution of the transcriptome of leukaemic and nonleukaemic cells upon treatment with hypomethylating agents and IDH inhibitors. This will allow them to compare for the first time the channelling of genetic and phenotypic heterogeneity driven by different epigenetic therapies.

Host institution: Institut national de la sante et de la recherche medicale (INSERM). Paris, France.

Supervisors: Alex Puissant and Raphael Itzykson (visit website here).

Envisioned secondments: GenomeScan B.V. (The Netherlands, 2 months), University of Bergen (Norway, 2 months).

PhD Project 5: Understanding and reverting the epigenetic reprogramming of bone marrow (BM) stroma cells in myelodysplastic syndromes.

The PhD candidate will study the support capacity of bone marrow stroma cells towards healthy and disease haematopoietic stem cell/progenitors (HSPCs). The fellow will identify candidate chromatin regulators and pinpoint ways for therapeutic intervention. The ideal candidate should have a strong background in immunology and solid wet-lab skills.

Host institution: Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute. Badalona, Spain.

Supervisors: Marcus Buschbeck and René Winkler (visit website here).

Envisioned secondments: Klinikum rechts der Isar der TU München and Institute for Tumor Biology and Experimental Therapy, Georg-Speyer-Haus (Germany, 3 months). Depending on the project development: Aelian Bio (Austria, 1 month).

PhD Project 6: Targeted inhibition of the NUP98-NSD1 fusion oncogene in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) models by NSD1 inhibitors.

The PhD candidate will analyse the efficiency of epigenetic drugs as a mechanism to decrease aberrant histone methylation activity in MDS and sAML driven by the fusion protein of NUP98 and the histone methylase NSD1.

Host institution: Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute. Badalona, Spain.

Supervisors: María Berdasco and Manel Esteller (visit websites here and here).

Envisioned secondments: Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien (Austria, 4 months). Depending on the project development: Aelian Bio (Austria, 1 month).

PhD Project 7: Functional identification of effectors of fusion proteins that drive secondary-type acute myeloid leukaemia (sAML).

The PhD candidate will identify critical factors that control the initiation and maintenance of fusion protein-driven MDS/AML. Detailed studies will address the mechanistic basis of high-confidence candidates.

Host institution: Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien. Vienna, Austria.

Supervisor: Florian Grebien (visit website here).

Envisioned secondments: Institut national de la sante et de la recherche medicale (France, 4 months), GenomeScan B.V. (The Netherlands, 2 months).

PhD Project 8: DNA methylation as determinant of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) treatment with hypomethylating agents.

The PhD candidate will study determinants of hypomethylating agent response that could be further exploited for the development of combinatorial drug targets. In addition, the candidate will identify and exploit differentially methylated regions for the development of a predictive biomarker for response and further assess if single-cell resolution would increase diagnostic power.

Host institution: Università degli Studi di Firenze. Florence, Italy.

Supervisor: Valeria Santini (visit website here).

Envisioned secondments: Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute (Spain, 3 months), MLL Munich Leukemia Laboratory (Germany, 2 months).

PhD Project 9: Exploiting 3D organotypic niche models to dissect the cellular crosstalk between niche and haematopoietic stem cell/progenitors (HSPCs) in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).

The PhD candidate will use fully humanized 3D organotypic bone marrow niche models as a complementary approach to patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models to explore niche dependencies in MDS and perform screens that aim to identify druggable modules that promote the fitness and progressive clonal dominance of malignant clones.

Host institution: Institute for Tumor Biology and Experimental Therapy, Georg-Speyer-Haus. Frankfurt, Germany.

Supervisor: Hind Medyouf (visit website here).

Envisioned secondments: GenomeScan B.V. (The Netherlands, 3 months), University of Bergen (Norway, 2 months).

PhD Project 10: Enhancing the informative value of bulk bone marrow (BM) RNA-seq by inferring cell-type contributions.

The PhD candidate will develop an artificial intelligence-based method that will allow the inference of the contributions of different cell types to bulk RNA-seq data from complex mixtures. The ideal candidate will have previous knowledge in R and/or other scripting languages (such as Python), experience in working with Linux environment, bash scripting and knowledge of the main molecular biology techniques.

Host institution: MLL Munich Leukemia Laboratory. Munich, Germany.

Supervisor: Torsten Haferlach (visit website here).

Envisioned secondments: Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute (Spain, 3 months), BioBam Bioinformatics (Spain, 1 month).

PhD Project 11: Development of pre-clinical patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).

The PhD candidate will develop new humanized mouse PDX models and assess their ability to maintain the disease phenotype and cellular complexity. The best PDX models will enable the pre-clinical testing of new innovative drugs. Monitoring treatments at the single cell level will allow the determination of treatment efficacy and possible occurrence of resistance.

Host institution: University of Bergen. Bergen, Norway.

Supervisor: Emmet McCormack (visit website here).

Envisioned secondments: Klinikum rechts der Isar der TU München (Germany, 4 months), GenomeScan B.V. (The Netherlands, 1 month).

PhD Project 12: Development of methods for the functional analysis of single cell RNA-seq data.

The PhD candidate will develop a new analysis framework that will make possible a better understanding of the underlying biology of cell subpopulations in heterogenic tissues and comparison across experimental conditions. The ideal candidate would have a background in bioinformatics, programming, and functional genomics.

Host institution: BioBam Bioinformatics. Valencia, Spain.

Supervisor: Stefan Götz  (visit website here).

Envisioned secondments: Università degli Studi di Firenze (Italy, 2 months), Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute (Spain, 2 months).

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

Applicants can be of any nationality and must fulfil the following conditions:

• Not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host institution for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment (which is planned between July and October 2021).

• Be in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and not have been awarded a doctoral degree at the date of recruitment.

• Have a master’s degree relevant to the chosen position (including biology, medicine, biochemistry, bioinformatics or a related discipline, depending on each PhD project) or an equivalent qualification that would entitle them to begin a doctorate by the time they are recruited (July-October 2021). Applications are welcome from candidates who are currently finishing their master studies (state the expected defense date in the application).

• Have a high level of proficiency in written and spoken English.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Applications will be solely accepted through the INTERCEPT-MDS online application form and must be in English.

Each applicant may apply to a maximum of three individual PhD Projects. 

Download the Full details document to read the full description about the application process and the required documents.

TIMELINE

Application deadline
23 February 2021 at midnight (Central European Time)

Announcement of preselection results and call for interviews
31 March 2021

Recruitment workshop
April 2021 (date to be confirmed. Possibly via video conferencing).

Communication of final results
7 May 2021

Tentative start of fellowship
July – October 2021