Secretory factors from the cancer cells activate the recruitment of myofibroblasts to the primary tumor site, as well as they promote the departure of cancer cells and myofibroblast precursors (such as bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells, MSC) to distant tissues (FASEBJ 2004; JNCI 2010; Cancer Res 2010, GUT 2012). Recently exosomes have been implicated in these metastasis-associated processes in multiple types of cancer. Exosomes are nanovesicles of +/- 40 nm in size, have a double lipid layer and contain a complex cargo of proteins and RNA molecules. The goal of this research project will be to elucidate whether cancer therapy protocols change paracrine interactions using different molecular techniques in colorectal cancer-stroma models. This work is part of CAFFEIN (Cancer Associated Fibroblasts Function in tumor Expansion and INvasion), which is a Marie-Curie ITN network (Seventh Framework program of the European Union). We offer a stimulating environment for the scientific development of the candidate. Through support of senior PhD students and post-doctoral scientists and close interaction with the clinicians (department of surgery, radiotherapy, oncology), the candidate will be able to finalize a PhD thesis independently.
Interested candidates preferentially have a degree of master in the biotechnology, biomedical sciences, bio-engineering, medical doctor or an equivalent degree. They have obtained good study results (at least distinction) during their education and they show a genuine interest and motivation to perform scientific research. Skills to work in a lab environment, interest in molecular research techniques, functional assays and animal models. Oral and written communication skills (good knowledge of English). Perform teamwork (the project is international and interdisciplinary; and is a typical example of team science). Have a critical, problem solving and results-oriented attitude. Eager to learn and work independently. International mobility will be required during the duration of this project.