Doctoral Candidate in biophysical methods for cancer immunotherapy applications

Updated: about 2 months ago

Aalto University is a community of bold thinkers where science and art meet technology and business. We are committed to identifying and solving grand societal challenges and building an innovative future. Aalto has six schools with nearly 11 000 students and a staff of more than 4000, of which 400 are professors. Our main campus is located in Espoo, Finland. Diversity is part of who we are, and we actively work to ensure our community’s diversity and inclusiveness in the future as well. This is why we warmly encourage qualified candidates from all backgrounds to join our community. 

We are looking for a highly motivated and talented 

Doctoral Candidate in biophysical methods for cancer immunotherapy applications 

The research project’s ultimate aim is to enhance the efficacy of cancer immunotherapies using biophysical and biomechanical information. Our particular focus is on solid-tumor-forming common cancers, present in breast, ovaries, prostate, and colon tissue, and only a fraction of the current immunotherapies targeting these cancers has been effective. 

We are looking for a doctoral candidate to experimentally study two immunotherapy-relevant model types, 3D cell cultures and biopsy-based live tumors using biophysical methods, particularly, based on microscope time lapses. Immunotherapy-related cells will be studied in these models. Functional, biomechanical tissue properties can be investigated using custom-made microscope inserts during the time lapses. The project will involve an extensive collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Helsinki.

The doctoral candidate is expected to work on investigating immunotherapy-relevant biophysical parameters using the experimental cell-culture models. This experimental investigation closely ties to collaboration with another doctoral candidate, who focuses on machine learning and programming. The collaboration could eventually lead to the use of the work for the identification of those cancer patients that respond to immunotherapies. In an ideal scenario, the work could be integrated to experimental immunotherapies in a local hospital.

The research project belongs to a Business Finland funded project R2B-Immunate and will be carried out at the research group of Dr. Juho Pokki within the Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation at Aalto University. The group has tight collaborations with Karolinska Institute, ETH Zurich and Stanford University.

Your goals as a doctoral candidate

  • Investigation of 3D cell cultures and biopsy-based live tumors using biophysical methods and microscope time lapses for immunotherapy applications
  • Method implementation, integration, and testing
  • Coordination and completion of experimental studies together with a multi-disciplinary team
  • Communication of the work, including peer reviewed journal publications, and scientific conferences

Research group 

Dr Juho Pokki leads the research group that investigates how cell-size-scale biomechanics impacts the progression of solid-tumor cancers, particularly breast cancer. 

Your background

Ideally you should have:

  • MSc (or an equivalent degree) in biomedical engineering, physics, chemistry, electrical/mechanical engineering, or a relevant field
  • Experience in experimental methods and instrumentation
  • Experience in cell culturing
  • Excellent command of English language (both spoken and written)

It is beneficial if you have:

  • Knowledge of cell culturing techniques
  • Experience in fluorescence microscopy
  • Experience in using a variety of biological methods 

Salary and contract terms 

The selected postdoctoral research is expected to conduct their research at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation at Aalto University. As an employer, Aalto University provides excellent learning and development opportunities as well as occupational health care services, commuter ticket benefit and versatile exercise services by Unisport. Finland has a comprehensive social security system. Preferable starting time is early 2021. 

Ready to apply? 

Please submit your application through our recruiting system by using the "Apply now!" link below and include the following documents in English:

  • CV (with the list of relevant academic and professional achievements)
  • Transcript of studies
  • References
  • Brief cover letter of the application 

The application period closes on 21 February 2021, but we will start reviewing candidates immediately upon the receiving of the applications. Applications will be considered until the position is filled. 

More information

If you wish to hear more about the position, please feel free to directly contact Dr Juho Pokki, In case you have questions related to the recruitment process, please contact HR Coordinator Jaana Hänninen, 

About Finland 

Aalto University is an international community: more than 30% of our academic personnel are non-Finns. Finland is a great place for living with or without family – it is a safe, politically stable and well-organized Nordic society. Finland is consistently ranked high in quality of life and was just listed as the happiest country in the world: 

For more information about living in Finland:

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