Postdoctoral fellow in pediatric oncogenomics

 Job description

We seek a talented postdoctoral fellow who wants to be engaged in a novel project aiming to model the core genetic events leading to neuroblastoma starting from induced progenitor cells using state-of-the art technology, including a variety of genomics techniques (including DNA and RNA sequencing, ChIP and ATAC sequencing), CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, in combination with in vivo mouse and zebrafish studies.

The candidate will be working in the team under the supervision of prof. Frank Speleman and will work in close collaboration with a team of postdoctoral fellows and PhD students. Background Cancer is a multistep process driven by genetic and epigenetic alterations. The genomic landscapes of many tumor entities, including pediatric cancers, are being characterized at great pace and generate novel insights into the genes and pathways causing tumor formation. In most pediatric cancers, the number of genetic lesions is very small, ranging on average from as little as one single genetic lesion to no more than ten. This is in steep contrast to many adult cancers in which sometimes 100s or more mutations are present. Clearly, epigenetic control is key in the process of differentiation of embryonic structures and various progenitor cells and often these tightly regulated developmental events are perturbed in pediatric cancers. Despite the progress of treatment of pediatric cancers, in particular leukemias, for several entities survival rates are poor and current treatment is toxic causing many short and long-term severe side effects. Thus, novel strategies to combat these cancers are desperately needed.

Our lab has a longstanding interest in neuroblastoma genetics and contributed to several key observations such as the discovery of causal DNA copy number changes, mutation in the ALK tyrosine kinase receptor, LIN28B amplification and collaboration in mouse modeling of the disease. More recently, we also engaged in the study of subtypes of childhood leukemia, in particular T-ALL. We discovered high incidence of TCR rearrangements and novel tumor suppressor genes. Finally, in addition to mouse modeling, we have initiated a broad initiative for zebrafish modeling of pediatric cancer for which substantial funding has been received.



  • Holder of a PhD degree in molecular and cellular (cancer) biology or a related field, obtained in the last 5 years, and a solid publication record. Candidates with prior experience in molecular and cellular biology methods, (epi)genomics technologies and standard bioinformatic skills are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Interest and experience in the use of in vivo cancer models would be an advantage. Candidates should have excellent communication skills in spoken and written English (proven knowledge of English is required, TOEFL test).
  • Candidates should be team players able to organize and coordinate multidisciplinary projects and have a problem-solving attitude.

What do we offer?

How to apply

For more information concerning this vacancy please contact: Prof. F. Speleman +32 9 332 2451 franki.speleman@UGent.beApplications for this position should be submitted to dr. Els Janssens ( Please send a motivation letter and a complete CV, containing a list of publicationsa summary of past research and contact information of 2 or 3 referees by June 1st 2015.

Top-ranked candidates will be invited for an interview (either skype or on site). Center for Medical Genetics Ghent University Medical Research Building 1, campus UZ De Pintelaan 185, B-9000 GENT BELGIUM