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PhD positions in Cancer Biology (Experimental Haematology), University Hospital Zurich

veröffentlicht am: 18.06.2018

Institut, Seminar, Klinik / Institute, Department, Clinic

Division of Hematology / Exp. Lab Prof. Zenz

Abteilungsbeschreibung / Description of UZH unit

Our group aims to 1) advance our understanding of molecular and genetic lesions in the pathogenesis of lymphoma and blood cancer subtypes and 2) use this understanding to exploit it therapeutically in clinical care of patients with lymphoma, CLL and myeloma (

Aufgabenbereich / Responsibilities

We are inviting applications for PhD positions in Cancer Biology (Experimental Haematology). The focus of the two positions will be on the molecular basis of drug response and leukemia & lymphoma.
The systematic translation of genomic and molecular knowledge into optimized treatment of cancers remains challenging. Matching the biological heterogeneity of tumors to the variety of choices in an increasingly complex landscape of drugs poses difficult challenges to clinical trial design. To address this need, we exploit a robust preclinical model system that enables assessing drug response phenotypes of primary tumor cells in high-throughput. We achieve this by mapping pathway inhibitor and drug sensitivity ex vivo. We apply a comprehensive, relevant and diverse library (-400 compounds) across a spectrum of disease entities (CLL, T-PLL, B-PLL, MCL, LPL, FL, Sezary syndrome) and genotypes (e.g. mutant TP53, ATM, NOTCH1, SF3B1, MYD88; BRAF, JAK3) in samples from hundreds of patients. The results will help to understand the functional role of critical signaling pathways in lymphoproliferative diseases (LPD). By integrating the characteristic fingerprint of each drug across patients with molecular characterization, we will obtain a rich set of associations of specific drug sensitivities with biology, biomarkers and outcome. Moreover, we aim at building models for predictive understanding of complex drug sensitivity patterns of individual diseases and patients by comprehensively charting the networks controlling pathway inhibitor sensitivity. The known mechanism of action of a large proportion of drugs will allow us to functionally dissect biological subgroups currently unapparent. We aim to deliver a biology-based understanding of the heterogeneous responses of tumors to drugs and a functional stratification of tumors based on drug response phenotypes.
The distinguishing features of our project include the systematic and complete representation of a set of entities by primary tumor samples; integration of comprehensive phenotypic (sensitivity to drug panels and molecular characterization (DNA, RNA, DNA methylome); creation of a high-quality public reference dataset through standardized experimental protocols; and tightly integrated biostatistic and bioinformatic modeling for optimal understanding and exploitation of the data. The outcome generated will have immediate relevance for developing rational, molecular mechanism-based treatment approaches in LPD.

Beschäftigungsgrad / Workload in %

70 – 100%

Anforderungen / Qualifications

– a master’s degree in biological science or a related field. Highly qualified students with a bachelor’s degree may also apply.
– an interest in topics at the intersection of omics profiling, bioinformatics and cell biology
– excellent communication skills in English (German speaking skills are not necessary)
– prior knowledge in cancer biology, pharmacology, systems biology, genetics is desirable but not required.

Sprachkenntnisse / Language requirements

English, German (optional)

Wir bieten / We offer

– a team of young and highly motivated colleagues who are passionate about cancer research
– strong support for your professional/career development
– generous support for professional travel and research needs
– further information about employments at the University of Zurich is available here:

– an attractive work environment both within the research group and beyond: the University of Zurich is one of Switzerland’s leading universities in the middle of a vibrant, cosmopolitan city that regularly ranks as one of the cities with the highest quality of life in the world.

For additional information about an employment at our university please visit

Stellenantritt / This position opens on

Ideally on September 1, 2018 (but the exact date is negotiable)

Auskunft erteilt / More information

Prof. Dr. Thorsten Zenz


Bewerbungen / Application

Bitte senden Sie Ihre Bewerbung mit den üblichen Unterlagen an oben genannte E-Mail-Adresse.

Prof. Dr. Thorsten Zenz
University Hospital Zurich, Division of Hematology
Rämistr. 100
CH-8091 Zürich




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