Ghent University


October 10, 2021


→ Apply until 26/10/2021 (DD/MM/YYYY) 23:59 (Brussels time) → Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences → Department GE31 - Department of Biomolecular Medicine → AAP temporary appointment - 100% → Number of openings: 1.00 → Reference number: 202109/GE31/AS/037


Ghent University is a world of its own. Employing more than 8,000 people, it is actively involved in education and research, management and administration, and technical and social services on a daily basis. It is one of the largest, most exciting employers in the area and offers great career opportunities. With each of its 11 faculties and more than 100 departments offering state-of- the-art study programmes that are grounded in research in a wide range of academic fields, Ghent University is a logical choice for its employees as well as its students.


  • At least 50% of your assignment will be spent on academic research in preparation of a doctoral dissertation.
  • Subject of the dissertation: Prediction of surgical resectability after FOLFIRINOX chemotherapy for borderline resectable and locally advanced pancreatic cancer

    After neoadjuvant therapy, borderline resectable (BR) and locally advanced pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (LAPDA) patients need to be evaluated by a surgeon whether they may be eligible/will benefit from surgery. However, surgical resectability is difficult to predict as spatial changes are unreliable on CT-scans and the tumor marker (CA 19-9) is not specific enough. Patients with circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in their blood in a pre-operative setting show a detrimental outcome despite successful tumor resections. Indeed, CTC presence predicts early distant metastases and impaired survival. However, isolating CTCs from blood samples is not a routine laboratory test. In fact, characterizing such CTCs requires optimizing the isolation procedure of this rare cell population and the development of proper single-cell analyses.

    The main goal of this multidisciplinary, translational project is to search for highly specific biomarkers in blood predicting BR/LAPDA resectability and prognosis by combining clinical and genetic profiling of liquid biopsies. First, we will study the evolution of the number of CTCs in blood samples of patients, followed by phenotyping of the cells. Second, we will perform a longitudinal analysis of the driver mutations and epigenetic changes in cell- free DNA. Third, we will perform genotyping of the germline variations in noncoding, functional regions of genes that regulate cancer progression, invasion and metastatis. Lastly, we will determine specificity, positive and negative predictive values of the genetic data in relation to clinical and surgical parameters. The outcome of this project will have an immediate impact in the therapeutic decision tree, avoiding unnecessary open abdomens, making treatment more proficient improving the quality of life.

  • You will assist in the teaching activities at the department.
  • You will assist in the internal and external services of the department.
  • The assignment mainly compromises scientific research in preparation of a doctoral dissertation. The contribution to teaching activities and services of the department are limited.

  • You hold a degree of Master in Bioengineer, Biotechnology, Biomedical Sciences, Bioinformatics or similar. For diplomas awarded outside the European Union, a certificate of equivalence (NARIC) must be submitted. The degree requirements need to be fulfilled at the start of your appointment.
  • You are interested in academic and/or project-based research.
  • You are interested in both wet lab work and bioinformatics.
  • Participation in extra training, conferences, etc. is recommended.

  • We offer you a two-year appointment, which may be renewed twice for two years, on condition that the previous term was given a positive evaluation. Attention : If you have been previously appointed as a junior assistant or doctoral fellow at a university within the Flemish Community, this appointment will be deducted from the maximum term of appointment, which is six years at the most according to the Codex of Higher Education.
  • Your appointment will start on 15 January 2022 at the earliest.
  • Your remuneration will be determined according to salary scale AAP3. More information about our salary scales.
  • All Ghent University staff members enjoy a number of benefits, such as a wide range of training and education opportunities, 35 days of paid leave, bicycle commuting reimbursement, ecocheques, etc. A complete overview of all our fringe benefits (in Dutch).

    Apply online through the e-recruitment system before the application deadline (see above). We do not accept late applications or applications that are not sent through the online system.

    Your application must include the following documents:

  • In the field ‘Cv' : your cv and an overview of your study results, and references (merged into one pdf file)
  • In the field ‘Cover letter' : your application letter in pdf format
  • In the field ‘Diploma' : a transcript of the required degree (if already in your possession). If you have a foreign diploma in a language other than our national languages (Dutch, French or German) or English, please add a translation in one of the mentioned languages.
  • In the field ‘Certificate of equivalence' : only for diplomas awarded outside the European Union a certificate of equivalence (NARIC) must be submitted. (This can be requested via www.
  • Note that the maximum file size for each field is 10 MB.

    As Ghent University maintains an equal opportunities and diversity policy, everyone is encouraged to apply for this position.


    For more information about this vacancy, please contact Prof. Kathleen Claes (, +32 09/332 24 78).

    Do you have a question regarding the online application process? Please read our FAQ.

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