Early Stage Researcher (ESR/PhD) in the European Training Network “TRANSMIT – TRANSlating the role of Mitochondria in Tumorigenesis” (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2016) - ESR 11 (University Hospital of the Paracelsus Medical University Salzburg, Austria)

Monday, 20 March 2017
Monday, 15 May 2017

TRANSMIT - TRANSlating the role of Mitochondria in Tumorigenesis

The consolidation of the knowledge that cancer is not only a genetic, but also a metabolic disease, has led scientists to investigate the intricate metabolic plasticity that transformed cells must undergo to survive the adverse tumor microenvironment conditions, and the contribution of oncogenes and tumor suppressors in shaping metabolism. In this scenario, genetic, biochemical and clinical evidences place mitochondria as key actors in cancer metabolic restructuring, not only because these organelles have a crucial role in the energy and biosynthetic intermediates production but also because occurrence of mutations in metabolic enzymes encoded by both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA has been associated to different types of cancer. TRANSMIT aims to dissect the metabolic remodeling in human cancers, placing the focus on the role of mitochondria and bridging basic research to the improvement/development of therapeutic strategies. Further, TRANSMIT fosters the communication of this emerging field to the patients and their families. To these aims, TRANSMIT will create a network of seven different countries, among which world-leading basic science and clinical centers of excellence, several industrial partners with up-todate omics technologies, as well as non-profit foundations and associations who care for cancer patients. By creating the critical mass of scientific excellence, TRANSMIT will allow to transfer the current knowledge into the wide field of cancer research, translating scientific and technical advances into the education and training of eleven Early Stage Researchers. TRANSMIT will implement training-through-research dedicated to unravel the metabolic features of cancer, as well as to provide a full portfolio of complementary skills through the creation of a network of basic, translational and industrial laboratories, devoted to a multidisciplinary/multisectorial education of young scientists.


ESR11 Impact of ketogenic diet in relation to tumor biology: TRANSMIT is a multi-partner project that intends to mobilise the critical mass of expertise, by linking partners from 10 world-leading basic science and clinical centres of excellence, SMEs with direct interest in mitochondrial cancer metabolism, as well as a non-profit foundation with a 25-year history of advanced training.

At the Department of Paediatrics at the Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg - Austria an early stage researcher (ESR) position is available. We are a multi-disciplinary centre of competence whose objective is to offer diagnostic services and research for mitochondrial disorders. Based on our extensive competence in mitochondrial biology we also established a research program on tumor metabolism


Job description: A bulk of evidence has been accumulated in recent years demonstrating that neoplastic development is tightly linked with and dependent on mitochondrial metabolism.  The ESR will directly target the increased glycolysis and low OXPHOS activity of solid cancers by dietary intervention. Due to the metabolic adaptability of cancer cells, it may be necessary to combine agents that target different metabolic pathways to achieve high therapeutic efficacy. Targeting of metabolic reprogramming in cancer cells should render them more sensitive to classical chemo or radiation therapy and would likely permit reduced drug doses or duration of treatment. Different diets in combination with chemotherapeutics will be used to treat mice with xenografts. The effect of the treatments on important parameters of tumour progression will be determined. The studies will reveal if the success of the dietary intervention depends on specific alterations of tumor cell metabolism.

PhD program in which the ESR will be enrolled: The ESR can enroll for PhD studies in medical sciences (http://www.pmu.ac.at/en/medicalsciencephd.html) at the Paracelsus Medical Universtiy (www.pmu.ac.at). The qualification objectives of the "Ph.D. Scient. Med." correspond to the Level 8 of the European qualification framework for lifelong learning. The knowledge, skills and competences acquired after the successful completion of the doctorate study permit to the graduates to exercise the scientific research as a profession and they are thus in a position to fulfil the specific scientific as well as the professional requirements in this area of activity.

Alternatively the ESR has the possibility to enroll in the Doctoral program of the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University Salzburg (www.uni-salzburg.at).



·         The ESR will be appointed as Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow with a 3-year employment contract (38.5 hours per week) at 39100 euro/year, 600 euro/month mobility allowance and family allowance depending on family situation. The net salary results from deducting all compulsory (employer/employee) social security contributions as well as direct taxes (e.g. income tax) from the gross amounts. The rate indicated here is for researchers devoting themselves to their project on a full-time basis.

·         A highly multidisciplinary, cross-cultural and competitive training program in the field of metabolism in cancer.

·         The appointment is offered in conjunction with an enrollment in a PhD program. PhD tuition fees for the candidate are covered and the research project is aimed at defending a thesis and obtaining a PhD degree.

·         In addition to the scientific project, the ESR will benefit from further continuing training, which includes summer schools and secondments, a variety of training courses as well as transferable skill courses, active participation in workshops and conferences, and exposure to SME(s) and universities from the different European countries.

·         Vacation days/year: 25 days

Starting date: Summer/autumn 2017 but never later than January 1st, 2018.


Eligibility criteria

Required Educational Level: Master, Msc

Degree Field: The successful candidates must be in possession/just finishing a university Masters degree in chemistry, biology, genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, pharmacy, medicine, or related fields.

Skills: A background in cancer metabolism or experience with in vivo models would be an advantage.

Languages:  As the ESRs will be working in an international and interdisciplinary environment, an excellent command of English (written and oral) is mandatory.  Basic knowledge in German is an advantage

Status ESR: At the date of recruitment – the ‘early stage researcher’ has to be in the first four years (full time equivalent research experience) of his/her research career and not have been awarded a doctoral degree.

Trans-national mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) is an essential requirement of MSCA-ITN. The ESR can be of any nationality. At the time of recruitment by the host organisation, he/she must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc) in the country of the host organisation for more than 12 months in the three years immediately before the reference date. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.


Applications, in English, should include CV, detailed academic transcripts, a copy of the thesis, a motivation letter and a reference letter, which are all to be submitted by email to b.kofler@salk.at


Selection criteria

First selection step: Curriculum evaluation. Numerical scores will be awarded for grading criteria such as study marks, duration of study, scientific publications in peer reviewed journals, reference letters. Only the admitted candidates will be contacted by e-mail for the second selection step.

Second selection step: Skype or face-to-face interview in which candidates will give a short presentation of their master thesis and of a scientific paper that they will receive a week before the interview.


The University seeks to increase the number of its female faculty and staff members. Therefore qualified women are strongly encouraged to apply. In case of equal qualification, female candidates will be given preference unless reasons specific to an individual male candidate tilt the balance in his favour.


Deadline for submission: 15th of May 2017, until position is filled

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No.: 722605


Applications to:

a.o.Univ. Prof. Dr. Barbara Kofler

Research Program for Receptor Biochemistry and Tumor Metabolism

Department of Pediatrics

Paracelsus Medical University Salzburg

Muellner Hauptstr. 48

A-5020 Salzburg



Required Educational Level: Master, Msc; Degree Field: the successful candidates must be in possession/just finishing a university Masters degree in chemistry, biology, genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, pharmacy, medicine, or related fields.
39100 euro/year, 600 euro/month mobility allowance and family allowance depending on family situation
University Hospital of the Paracelsus Medical University Salzburg, Austria
Job type: 
Temporary: 3-year employment contract
Salzburg, Austria
Prof. Dr. Barbara Kofler (b.kofler@salk.at)