PhD position in The Laboratory of Tumor Inflammation and Angiogenesis

Updated: 3 months ago

The Laboratory of Tumor Inflammation and Angiogenesis, headed by Prof. Massimiliano Mazzone, is embedded in an international and multi-disciplinary research environment of the VIB Center for Cancer Biology (CCB), located on Campus Gasthuisberg of the University of Leuven. The mission of the lab is to unravel the interplay taking place in the tumor microenvironment (TME), and whenever suitable, exploit these insights to develop novel therapeutic approaches aimed to impact cancer progression through re-education of the immunosuppressive tumor ecosystem. De facto, the research topics span the fields of tumor biology, immunology, metabolism, and angiogenesis, focusing on the functional characterization of environmental cues of the TME dictating the cancer immune cell landscape. The end goal of the Team is to understand how manipulation of the identified signaling dynamics can impact the functional and phenotypic state of tumor-infiltrating immune cells. To gain groundbreaking insights, we exploit advanced spatial metabolomics,  single-cell and spatial transcriptomics, gene manipulation (supporting new ways for fast transgenic mouse generation and gene editing), and pharmacologic approaches in mice to study immune metabolic functions.
Our work is published in high-impact journals with strong international recognition and top-notch collaborations within academia and industry.

Your project

Embedded in the core scope of the team, your project aims to identify novel immunosuppressive pathways mediating cancer cell immune evasion and tumor progression. To understand not only how immune cell pressure shapes cancer cell evasion, but also how cancer cells tame the immune system we started a set of experiments aimed at unbiasedly determining alterations in the activation state of all cells constituting the tumor ecosystem. To this end, we generated a comprehensive melanoma atlas of scRNA-seq encompassing different degrees of cancer cell immunogenicity and degrees of immune deficiency.


As a Ph.D. student with a strong background in Bioinformatics, you will be responsible for leading the analysis of the generated datasets. Able to organize and troubleshoot your work you will be in charge of the advancement of your own in silico project; nonetheless, you are willing to support and contribute to several research projects of the lab, have a collaborative spirit, and are eager to liaise with academic collaborators, but also technology transfer experts and industrial partners. Communicative and collaborative you will be expected to share results and experiences with the team in a transparent and professional manner. The successful candidate should thrive in small-team environments where self-sufficiency, initiative, and flexibility are key and lines of communication are short. You will join a young international team and you will contribute to a collaborative, interactive, diligent, and science-driven culture in order to meet milestones set by the lab head.

Profile and skills

We are looking for a highly motivated, well-organized, and dynamic candidate with creative thinking.

• You hold an MSc. degree in (Bio)informatics / Computational Biology / Computer Science or a related field
• You have a strong interest in translational research in the immuno-oncology space
• You are familiar with single-cell or spatial biology workflows
• Working proficiency in R and Python
• Experienced in handling and managing the analysis of large biological datasets would be advantageous
• Knowledge of computing environments, cloud-based solutions, and hardware specifications to manage data would be advantageous
• Fluency in English, both oral and written, is mandatory
• Team player, applying your expertise to drive projects within a small team.
• Strong interpersonal and communication skills that you can use within the team and with collaborators.
• Meticulous, independent, and motivated.
• Keen to take on responsibilities.

We offer

• A dynamic and challenging research work environment where quality, professionalism, and team spirit are encouraged.
• A broad professional network (academic, clinical, and industrial) in a national and international setting.
• The ability to learn, work with, and become an expert in translational tumor immunology.
• The possibility to be at the start of scientifically cutting-edge and society-relevant projects based on multidisciplinary and international
• The opportunity to be part of an international, young, and dynamic team and provide a meaningful contribution to immuno-oncology

How to apply?

Please send a detailed CV, a motivation letter, and the contacts of at least two reference contacts to and

VIB is an entrepreneurial and vibrant non-profit research institute in Flanders-Belgium with a clear focus on groundbreaking research in life sciences. The VIB-KULeuven Center for Cancer Biology (CCB) (, is one of the research departments of VIB located at the University
Hospital Campus in Leuven, Belgium. CCB hosts 13 research groups and represents about 200 international researchers and administrative and technical collaborators. The focus of the CCB is to unravel the molecular basis of cancer, and whenever suitable, exploit these insights to develop novel therapeutic or diagnostic strategies.

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