The Cancer Biology laboratories of Klaus Elenius and Kari Kurppa are looking for a doctoral candidate to join a collaborative project of the two laboratories in the University of Turku, Turku, Finland.
The two laboratories, led by the principal investigators professor Klaus Elenius, MD/PhD and Dr. Kari J. Kurppa, PhD, aim to develop novel means to specifically target cancer cell signaling and drug resistance. Our special interest lies in the mechanisms that enable the establishment of minimal residual disease, or govern the maintenance of residual tumors following targeted cancer therapy. The overarching goal of our research is to develop rational combination strategies that will extend the long-term efficacy of clinically used cancer therapies.
Clinical drug resistance is often preceded by minimal residual disease state, where residual tumors stay dormant for an extended period of time. It is becoming increasingly evident that the establishment of minimal residual disease is mainly regulated by non-genetic mechanisms, as cancer cells adapt to treatment by acquiring new phenotypic states that no longer depend on the targeted oncogene.
Recent research in our laboratories has demonstrated that a ligand/receptor axis composed of ERBB receptors and their ligands is a key regulator of cancer cell drug tolerance. The doctoral candidate’s research will build upon these findings and address the specific mechanisms of ERBB activation upon targeted therapy.
The project also includes a drug development arm aiming at developing a novel inhibitor to specifically block the ERBB-mediated drug tolerance pathway. The approach takes advantage of the long experience of the Elenius lab in the cancer biology and targeting of the ERBB receptors, as well as of the unique understanding of the Kurppa lab of the molecular mechanisms underlying tumor dormancy and drug tolerance.
Successful applicants should have a MSc or equivalent degree in a relevant field. Applicants who will complete their MSc studies in the near future are also considered. Excellent academic performance and knowledge of written and spoken English are required. Prior experience working on systems and basic laboratory methodologies in the field of biomedicine, e.g. in vitro cancer model and omics analyses, is desired (e.g. from MSc thesis work). The applicant should demonstrate the needed skills and motivation for doctoral studies.
The applicant should familiarize with pension insurance and taxation regulations for recipients of scientific grants and scholarships. The doctoral candidate is expected to enroll in a PhD program in the next call.
The research of the doctoral candidates will be initially funded for a period of two years by Cancer Foundation Finland by monthly personal grants.
The laboratories are located in the MediCity research laboratory in the heart of BioCity research campus and affiliated with the Institute of Biomedicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Turku. The Elenius lab is additionally affiliated with the Turku Bioscience Centre. This environment offers a broad community of internationally renowned research groups and excellent research infrastructure.
Turku is a beautiful, historic university city in the South-West coast of Finland with an intriguing mix of history, culture and activities, as well as good connections.
How to apply
Include in your application a motivation letter and a CV with at least two references.
The deadline for applications is December 6, 2021 (11:59 PM UTC+3). Preferable starting date is January 1, 2022.
For any inquiries, please contact Klaus Elenius, klaele[a]utu.fi or Kari Kurppa, kjkurp[a]utu.fi.