Early Stage Researcher (ESR/PhD) in the Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN European Training Network “TRANSMIT – TRANSlating the role of Mitochondria in Tumorigenesis” (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2016) – ESR 8 (AvantiCell Science Ltd, UK)

Monday, 20 March 2017
Wednesday, 31 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.


Project Description

1)      Job Summary (max 1000 characters)

The ACS project within TRANSMIT aims to develop novel cancer cell models to test metabolic intervention strategies identified by other project partners. Its main objectives are to create a panel of novel, cell-based, three dimensional, in vitro models displaying the metabolic aberrations of human cancers and to characterize suitable readouts which will be used to identify targets for therapeutic intervention. ACS project outputs shall be the production of a panel of novel cell-based models; validation of the novel systems according to industry-compliant principles of utility, reproducibility and robustness; demonstration of model utility using metabolic intervention strategies developed by consortium partners.

2)      Job description (detailed, max 3000 characters)

Mounting evidence implicates cancer stem cells (CSCs) as a driving factor in tumourogenesis, lesion growth and metastasis1. ESR8 recruited by partner ACS shall undertake a project aimed at the isolation and characterisation of CSCs and the development of cell-based assays incorporating those stem cells. The project’s objective shall be to build a portfolio of assays from a panel of human donors; the portfolio shall represent different stages of disease development and genetic background. This assay panel shall be characterised in terms of the metabolic aberrations implicated by TRANSMIT project partners in oncogenesis and tumour growth. Thereafter, the assay panel shall be validated according to commercial principles, and will be adapted through application of ACS additive printing and cryopreservation technologies to create a portfolio of analytical tools with potential for commercial exploitation in the field of preclinical drug discovery. The project shall provide extensive training in cell technologies, and in the quality management processes associated with their applications in a commercial environment. The ESR shall also gain insight to and contribute to advancement of knowledge of the role of cancer stem cells in disease progression. The ESR shall extend his /her training through secondments to partners UNIBO and UCL.


3) Subject area of PhD program in which the ESR will be enrolled and PhD program duration

Duration: 3 years

4) Host University that will provide the PhD degree

University of the West of Scotland

5) PhD program starting date

!st October 2017


Required Educational Level

Degree: Masters Degree or similar

Degree Field: Life science discipline, preferably cell or molecular biology or biochemistry.

Skills: A suitable background for the open position includes knowledge of cell biology and the uses of cell-based analysis, and the applicant should be able to demonstrate expertise and practical skills in cell culture. In case of equal qualification, candidates with background in a commercial scientific environment will be preferred.

Languages: Applicant should be fluent in written and spoken English


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 Jennifer Garland (jennifer.garland@avanticell.com). Application deadline: 31st May 2017.


*Eligibility: Eligible applicants must have less than 4 years’ research experience (Early Stage Researcher) at the signature of the contract (measured from the time the Master’s degree has been obtained). Eligible applicants must not have been awarded a PhD.


The applicant may be a national of a Member State, of an Associated Country or of any other Third Country.

The applicant must not have resided in the country where the research training activities take place for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the recruitment date and not have carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in that country.



·         3 year’s employment contract with a leading biotechnology company;

·         Scientific training in a strong commercial scientific environment

·         Enrollment in a PhD school in a specific area;

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

·         Secondments and a specific training programme;

·         Vacation days/year: 25


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 interview in which candidates will give a short presentation of their master thesis. This may be followed by a face-to-face interview.


Evaluation period: (if any, specify the duration before the official start date) 30th June 2017

Degree: Masters Degree or similar; Degree Field: Life science discipline, preferably cell or molecular biology or biochemistry.
AvantiCell Science Ltd (ACS), UK
Job type: 
Temporary: 3-year employment contract
Ayr, South Ayrshire, Scotland, UK
Jennifer Garland (jennifer.garland@avanticell.com)