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Call for expressions of interest for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Postdoctoral Fellowship at the UEF Cancer Research Community

What can RC Cancer offer to a postdoctoral researcher at UEF?

The Multidisciplinary Cancer Research Community (RC Cancer) builds upon the translational cancer research cluster within the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital Cancer Centre, where researchers engaged in clinical and basic research join forces to fight cancer. We bring together the expertise on the molecular mechanisms, genomics, and quantitative imaging features of cancer, with clinical understanding of the diagnostics and treatment. Our goal is to bring personalized medicine into cancer prevention and care. In addition, our research covers the health economics challenges caused by cancer. In data science, we focus on detecting anomalies in cancer sample data, such as images, omics data, and registries. We are creating artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that can learn from this data to identify and predict risk of cancer and outcome factors. The Biobank of Eastern Finland and Kuopio Data Lake serve the research community with high quality sample collections and clinical data.

RC Cancer at UEF offers postdoctoral researchers an internationally recognized, unique biomedical research environment with an exciting combination of basic and translational research. Situated in the University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland, RC Cancer operates works in close collaboration with Kuopio University Hospital. RC Cancer helps its members to conduct multidisciplinary, competitive science through an enhanced research environment with a significant methodological and knowledge base. With intensive and active collaboration and networking both within the consortium as well as with other RCs and international partners, we create opportunities, help recognize possibilities, and provide support to reach more ambitious research goals.

Researchers at RC Cancer can work closely with the hospital as well as other institutes and departments of the university. RC Cancer organises events in career development, mentoring, and networking.

Research areas: We welcome expressions of interest in any research topics in which RC Cancer is involved - Treatment resistance and precision medicine; Prevention and clinical outcome within a defined population; Intelligent drug discovery and targeting based on applied data science in multidisciplinary oncology; Integration of multimodal data to create risk and outcome prediction tools.

Examples of research group descriptions:

Mannermaa research team

Our research concentrates in finding potential biomarker candidates for breast, ovarian/endometrial cancer (biomarkers that inform on the stage of cancer, predict relapse or drug response/patient outcome). We also focus on the ex vivo modelling of cancer therapy and cancer therapy related challenges, such as, drug resistance, radioresistance and alteration in glucose metabolism. We also investigate the role of extracellular vesicles (EVs) in the cancer pathophysiology focusing on tumour-stroma interactions in the tumour microenvironment, and the evolutionary mechanisms of breast cancer through liquid biopsy-based analyses. Our interest also includes studying the role of basal cellular pathways, such as autophagy in tumour pathology and how autophagy could be targeted to further improve current cancer treatment strategies. Candidates interested in these themes are encouraged to apply. We also develop innovative deep learning approaches to predict cancer risk and patient outcome using multimodal data including genomic, epigenomic, and both clinical imaging and demographic data. We incorporate interpretability methods to identity the critical groups of components associated with cancer risk or patient outcome. We develop AI-based cancer screening tools based on imaging and genomic data. Highly motivated candidates with competencies in computer programming (Python, Linux, deep learning libraries) and in method development (graph-based methods, uncertainty quantification, natural language processing, medical imaging) are encouraged to apply.
 

Lab Ketola, Cancer Cell Plasticity

Approximately one fifth of prostate cancer patients with castration-resistant disease treated with antiandrogens develop a form of prostate cancer that is completely independent of androgen receptor signalling, which fuels tumour growth. Analyses of the pathology and genomics of these patient tumours have shown that tumour cells adapt cancer stem cell and neuronal cell characteristics. We study the molecular mechanisms of cellular plasticity and treatment resistance in prostate cancer and aim at characterising novel therapeutic targets, biomarkers, and targeted therapies against aggressive, treatment resistant prostate cancer subtypes including treatment-induced neuroendocrine prostate cancer. We utilise state-of-the-art high-throughput live-cell and super-resolution imaging, drug discovery pipelines, including target identification and mechanistic validations, protein production, drug virtual screening and drug-target binding assays, biomarker studies from patient blood including analysis of extracellular vesicles with single-cell RNA-seq, single-cell ATAC-seq and genomic studies from patients and prostate cancer models. We have multiple novel drug targets and biomarkers under mechanistic investigation, and the candidate could join these projects either from the beginning or at the drug discovery validation stages.
 

Lab Heinäniemi

Our research is focused on elucidating disease mechanisms that are related to aberrant regulation of cell states. Genome-wide technologies can reveal the collective activity of the genome, even at single cell resolution. These readouts capture the repertoire of cell states in tissues. We study regulatory mechanisms that control changes in cell states, such as those active during cell differentiation or in response to cellular stress. The most common type of cancer in children develops as a consequence of arrested cell differentiation of early lymphoid precursor cells. We apply state-of-the-art single cell genomics methods to study the regulatory network across different leukemia subtypes and the changes in the bone marrow cell populations during drug therapy. To translate genomics into clinical practice, we perform this profiling in primary patient samples and develop data analysis tools that allow determining at unprecedented resolution the alterations in cancer cells. Candidates with interest in computational biomedicine (application of machine learning, systems biology, bioinformatics) are encouraged to apply for positions.

We have also an open position for Postdoctoral Researcher, Quantitative Single Cell Biology together with the group of Sylvain Tollis for a project that combines quantitative modelling of cell fate decisions with the single cell genomics approaches. The University of Eastern Finland is inviting applications for a Postdoctoral Researcher position at the Kuopio campus at the Institute of Biomedicine. The position will be filled until 31 December 2025, starting from 1 September 2022 (or starting date as agreed). Please find more information Postdoctoral Researcher, Quantative Single Cell Biology and submit your application no later than 12 August 2022.

MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowship

We now invite expressions of interest from potential postdoctoral researchers in applying jointly with a research group within RC Cancer for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Postdoctoral Fellowship.

The specific research topic for an MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowship application will be designed together with a research group within RC Cancer.

Eligibility and requirements: Candidates are expected to hold a PhD degree in biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, biotechnology, computer science, genetics, mathematics, medicine, or other related fields Candidates are also expected to have good problem solving, troubleshooting, and analytical skills, be fluent in English, have good interpersonal and written and oral communication skills, and be able to work independently as well as within an international team.

The objective of Postdoctoral fellowship is to support researchers’ careers and foster excellence in research. These fellowships are for researchers holding a PhD who wish to carry out their research activities abroad, acquire new skills and develop their careers. The aim is to help researchers gain experience in other countries, disciplines and non-academic sectors. More information is available at Postdoctoral Fellowships | Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (europa.eu).
 

If you are interested in Postdoctoral Fellowship, you can apply together with a host organisation. The requirements for interested researchers interested are:

• should have a PhD degree at the time of the deadline for applications

• must have a maximum of eight years experience in research, from the date of the award of their PhD degree, years of experience outside research and career breaks will not count towards the above maximum

• should comply with mobility rules: they must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the beneficiary (for European Postdoctoral Fellowships), or the host organisation for the outgoing phase (for Global Postdoctoral Fellowships) for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the call deadline

There are 2 types of Postdoctoral Fellowships:

1. European Postdoctoral Fellowships. They are open to researchers moving within Europe or coming to Europe from another part of the world to pursue their research career. These fellowships take place in an EU Member State or Horizon Europe Associated Country and can last between 1 and 2 years. Researchers of any nationality can apply.

2. Global Postdoctoral Fellowships. They fund the mobility of researchers outside Europe. The fellowship lasts between 2 to 3 years, of which the first 1 to 2 years will be spent in a non-associated Third Country, followed by a mandatory return phase of 1 year to an organisation based in an EU Member State or Horizon Europe Associated Country. Only nationals or long-term residents of the EU Member States or Horizon Europe Associated Countries can apply.

Both types of fellowships may also include short-term secondments anywhere in the world during the fellowship (except during the return phase of a Global Fellowship). The funding covers recruited researchers’ living allowance, a mobility allowance, and if applicable, also a family allowance, long-term leave allowance and special needs allowance. In addition, funding is provided for research, training and networking activities, management and indirect costs.

More information about MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowship is available at: Funding & tenders (europa.eu).
 

How to express your interest in postdoctoral research at RC Cancer?

Candidates are invited to express their interest in applying for a Postdoctoral Fellowship in a research group within RC Cancer no later than 29 July 2022 by completing the online application form and submitting a CV and a motivation letter in English at MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowship RC Cancer UEF.

An expression of interest is not a promise of funding or position. Review of expressions of interest will be finished and candidates informed by 5 August 2022. Evaluation is based on research quality, the researcher's future career prospects (motivation letter) and the availability of suitable supervision.

The final MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowship funding application will be prepared in collaboration between the relevant research group leader of RC Cancer and the selected postdoctoral candidate. The deadline for final applications is 14 September 2022.

For further information about UEF RC Cancer, please visit Multidisciplinary Cancer Research (CANCER) | University of Eastern Finland (uef.fi).

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