PhD Position in Computational Immunology

A PhD position is available in the tumor immunology lab at Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Our lab develops and tests novel cancer treatments. We perform both fundamental and translational research and are currently conducting a prospective randomized clinical trial of dendritic cell based immunotherapy for melanoma patients (headed by Jolanda de Vries). Like for many immunotherapies, our earlier clinical data suggests that it substantially benefits some patients, but has no effect on others. A key challenge in this field is to identify patients who are likely to benefit from certain treatments. Due to the complexity of the interplay of immune system and cancer, such treatment selection is likely to require a multifaceted assessment of a patient's immune system state -- and this is where you come in.

Your task will be to design sound and robust methodology for exploiting diverse types of data -- including RNA-seq, flow cytometry, genetics, and tissue images -- for prognostic and predictive purposes. In this project you will employ in silico modeling (i.e., computer simulations) to study what we can and cannot infer from our data, and causal inference methodology to go hunt for genuine causal relationships instead mere correlations. The goal is to identify a subset of data that is valuable for diagnostic purposes, and test your methodology on the data of the trial we are running.

You will work in the lab's computational immunology unit headed by Johannes Textor, which is an integral part of the lab and therefore has direct access to all research and clinical data, and is directly involved in the design of experiments and trials. This provides you with an opportunity to make a direct, positive impact on bench and clinical research.

This position is funded by KWF, the Dutch foundation for cancer research. The position is designed and funded as a 4-year full-time position, but part-time work (e.g., for accommodating childcare) can be negotiated. The position is available immediately and preferably the candidate should start by November 2017.

You should have a background in computer science, mathematics, physics, statistics or another quantitative discipline and have a strong interest in biology, or alternatively, a background in biology with a strong interest in computational methods and some preliminary experience in programing (e.g., R, matlab, python). You will also need good communication skills to function as a computational scientist in a biological lab.

Are you interested in this position? Then please send a CV and preferably some piece of code you wrote or description of an interesting project you did to