PhD position: “Quality in cancer laboratory diagnostics”

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
June 12, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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PhD position: “Quality in cancer laboratory diagnostics”

(ref. BAP-2023-294)

Last modification : Friday, May 12, 2023

The Biomedical Quality Assurance Research Group is a research unit that conducts research on quality assurance and quality performance of diagnostic laboratories, and indirectly addresses quality of care and patient safety. Our research mainly focuses on observational studies assessing overall quality in biomedical diagnostic laboratories. We offer a PhD position in the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at KU Leuven. You will work in the Biomedical Quality Assurance Research Unit and closely collaborate with the Department of Imaging & Pathology and the Laboratory of Pathology of the University Hospitals of UZ Leuven.


Cancer diagnostics has undergone tremendous development. On the one hand due to the further development of technology, and on the other hand due to additional insights and results from clinical studies. These innovations raise questions and concerns about the impact on the performance and results of laboratory diagnostics.

The introduction of high-throughput analysis methods improved the understanding of the tumor-specific (molecular) alterations occurring in cancer, and paved the way to a new generation of drugs targeting specific genes and (molecular) pathways. This allows for a more personalized approach to clinical care in which a targeted therapy can be tailored to the patient. Several biomarkers are implemented in standard testing procedures. These predictive biomarkers allow appropriate patient selection, safety, and outcome by using targeted therapies, which in turn is more cost-effective than conventional tumor diagnostics. Having a correct testing outcome is dependent on both the test- and specimen quality.

This PhD research aims to investigate whether the quality of various specific sub-processes of tests and specimen used for the diagnostic assessment of lung and breast cancer can be improved. Examples of sub-processes are e.g. pre- analytical phase, use of artificial intelligence as well as the potential impact of IVDR implementation. Tools to support this research are the drafting of consensus guidelines, providing training and EQA follow-up of the effect of these interventions.

Standardizing practices and reducing errors should further improve analytical results, which would ultimately lead to improved patient safety through better patient selection for targeted therapy.


• Master in Biomedical Sciences, Medicine, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Bio- engineer or equivalent by experience, achieved with at least distinction.

• You are highly motivated to work in a scientific and clinical environment.

• You will engage yourself with enthusiasm and perseverance to a four-year research project.

• You are ambitious, dynamic, flexible and take an open attitude towards problems and evolutions.

• You have a collaborative spirit.

• You are able to independently generate precise and reliable data and to interpret them.

• You have good written and oral knowledge of both Dutch and English.

• You have excellent communication skills to deal with all stakeholders in this field.

• You have good didactic skills and you can coach and motivate other colleagues.

• You are willing to supervise and coach Master's student(s)

• You possess a very good knowledge of the MS office software package.

• You are discrete, punctual, precise and very organized. You have no problem meeting deadlines and are stress-resistant.


We offer you a full time position for 1 year, which will be extended yearly to a period of 4 years, after a positive evaluation. Applying for research scholarship is expected.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Els Dequeker, tel.: +32 16 34 58 81, mail: [email protected]

Interviews will take place between July 1 and July 15, 2023.

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at [email protected].

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