15 PhD Positions in Cancer Cell Biology in the EU Funded SECRET Project

Applications are invited from candidates of excellence wishing to pursue a PhD degree in the field of cancer cell biology. Students will receive training within the pan-European academic/private sector research training network SECRET, specifically focused on breast and colorectal cancer research.

Breast and colorectal cancer (BC and CRC) are the most frequent cancers accounting for 19% of all deaths from cancer in Europe. In case of triple-negative BC (TNBC) targeted therapies are not available and non-selective chemotherapy is the only treatment option. Targeted therapy has been approved for the treatment of advanced CRC, but response rates are low and treatment is limited to a subgroup of patients. Also, TNBC and CRC patients are prone to develop metastases and have a poor prognosis underpinning the need for new targeted and broadly applicable therapeutic strategies. Tumor cell secretion contributes to hallmarks of cancer e.g. hyperproliferation, evasion of growth suppression, loss of cell polarity, activation of cell motility, invasion and metastasis, shaping of the tumor microenvironment through altered presentation of proteins and the secretome, and resistance to cell death. Dysregulated secretion is thus a driver of cancer progression and therefore holds promise as a general therapeutic target for the treatment of cancers. However, strategies to exploit the secretory pathway for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes are still in their infancy due to the incomplete understanding of how this pathway is regulated by aberrant signaling. The overall research objective of the SECRET ITN is to drive the understanding of the mutual regulation of the secretory pathway and signaling in cancer, which will serve as a platform to identify and interrogate novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. SECRET comprises 11 beneficiaries and 7 partner organizations from 9 countries. Coordinated by the University of Stuttgart, SECRET will train 15 talented early stage researchers in the field of translational cancer systems cell biology and systems medicine towards a career in industry or academia through a highly interdisciplinary and intersectoral research training programme and inspire them to exploit the SECRETory pathway as a treasure trove to design novel therapeutic strategies against cancer.

The programme is funded through the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Programme. Selected candidates will be offered a highly competitive stipend (as per generous Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions funding rules). During their training each student will spend time on secondment in academic, clinical and/or private sector research institutions thus must have a willingness to travel.

Candidate requirements: Candidates can be of any nationality, but are required to undertake transnational mobility. Candidates must possess a Master’s degree or equivalent in a relevant academic field and be within the first four years of his/her research career. Applications from candidates who already possess a doctoral degree will not be considered. English language skills have to be excellent.

Potential candidates should be able to demonstrate motivation and a strong eagerness to learn. Individuals must possess excellent written, oral communication and organizational skills. In addition, applicants should have the ability both to work independently and as part of a team. Previous related research experience will be a distinct advantage. All students must be willing to travel and will be required to complete international secondments.

Funding: PhD positions are funded at the level stipulated by Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions funding rules. Final salary calculations take into account living costs of the recruiting country. Additional family allowances are available where applicable.

Application process:

  • Project(s): applicants can select up to two (2) preferred projects from the list available in the link in the "Additional Information" section, below.
  • Required documents: a full CV, a motivation letter including a description of previous research experiences and contact details or recommendation letters of two 2 referees. Only documents in English will be accepted.
  • Submission: applicants should submit the documentation to SECRET@izi.uni-stuttgart.de writing in the subject line the number of their selected projects (E.g. Projects 1.1 and 2.3) by September 30 2019. Successful applicants will commence their projects no later than February 2020

Applications failing to include the requested documentation, where the candidates do not meet the eligibility criteria or which do not indicate the preferred projects WILL NOT be considered.

More information here

More about the SECRET Project here