Translational molecular medicine

The impact of obesity on the resistance to cancer treatment

Research area to investigate

Epidemiological studies reveal a significant impact of obesity on increased cancer risk and worsened treatment prognosis. Molecular and cellular mechanisms investigating the link between cancer and obesity have been proposed, including resistance to antiangiogenic treatment in obese breast or oesophagal cancer patients. Understanding the molecular signalling in the obese setting might lead to a more targeted treatment of obese patients with a decrease in tumour angiogenesis and, thereby, reduced proliferation and metastasis.

We hypothesize that excess fat and adipokines secreted from the adipose tissue contribute to poor therapy response in cancer patients. To dissect this hypothesis, we will profile the adipose tissue from obese patients with innovative bulk, single cell and spatial technologies. This multidisciplinary and translational effort will provide the first multi-layered characterization of adipose tissue in cancer patients. By correlating adipose tissue characteristics with patient variables, including response to therapies, we expect to identify targets that mediate treatment resistance and predict therapeutic approaches to overcome resistance.

Our new MSCA Postdoctoral Fellow should have these skills

We are looking for candidates with academic qualifications at the PhD level, preferably within one or more of the following areas:

  • Biomedical Research
  • Endothelial Cell Biology or Tumor Biology
  • Expertise in cell biology (primary cell culture, patient-derived organoids, immunofluorescence, confocal imaging) and biochemistry (RNA, DNA and protein analyses, proteomics).
  • Experience with flow cytometry analyses, tumour mouse models, and patient-derived organoids is also advantageous.

Host group expertise

Our group is interested in exploring the biology of the vascular system in physiological (development) and pathological conditions (obesity and cancer). Our research is devoted to the vascular system, with a particular interest in endothelial cell activation, adaptation to inflammatory stimulus and changes in the metabolism. We use multidisciplinary approaches (scRNA-seq; metabolomics, proteomics), in vivo tumour models, and in vitro and in vivo assays related to inflammation, angiogenesis and endothelial dysfunction.

Host department

Host supervisor

Are you interested?

Send your resume and a short description of your motivation for this project to the host supervisor before 31 March 2023.

The application process

Provisional timeline

  • 31 March 2023: Deadline for international postdocs’ enquiries concerning the published project description.
  • Mid-April 2023: The supervisor selects an applicant. 
  • 2 May 2023: Online workshop with writing consultants - supervisor and applicant start to write an application together.
  • June-July 2023: Online meeting between writing consultants, the supervisor and the applicant.
  • Mid-September 2023: EU deadline for applications to the MSCA programme. 
  • February 2024: The European Commission announces the recipients of the MSCA grants, with start in summer 2024.