Doctoral scholarship holder, FLASH radiotherapy and radiobiology

Lieu de travailAntwerpen, Région flamande, Belgique
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Department: Molecular Imaging - Pathology - Radiotherapy - Oncology Regime Full-time

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The Center for Oncological Research in collaboration with Iridium Netwerk is looking for a full-time (100%) doctoral scholarship holder, funded by a Kom Op Tegen Kanker grant in the field of FLASH radiotherapy and radiobiology. The title of the project is:

FLASH radiation therapy to improve the therapeutic management of breast cancer by reducing radiation-induced skin, soft tissue, lung and heart toxicities.

The FLASH effect, obtained with radiation therapy delivered at ultra-high dose rate (FLASH-RT), is defined as sparing normal tissues while maintaining the tumour effect, when compared to conventional dose-rate radiation therapy (CONV-RT). At the Iridium Netwerk in Antwerp, one of the 3 Belgian intra-operative radiotherapy (IOeRT) linear accelerators is available for treatment of breast cancer patients both for a boost to the primary tumour bed (for high-risk patients) and for single-dose partial breast irradiation. Combining our existing experience with IOeRT for breast cancer patients with the installation of the ElectronFlash research machine paves the way to compare conventional with FLASH dose rates for radiation therapy using IOeRT irradiators. This set-up will be used to 1- decipher the fundamental biological mechanisms underlying the FLASH effect and 2- prepare a safe and efficacious clinical translation of breast cancer treatment by FLASH IOeRT using preclinical breast cancer and normal tissue models, along with combinatory treatments.

Thereby, our research project aims at investigating both the mechanisms of the FLASH effect and use preclinical models to prepare the translation of FLASH-RT to the clinics:

  • WP1: Investigation of the underlying mechanisms will be performed with a combination of in vivo and in vitro experiments. In vitro assays, using 5 different cell lines maintained in spheroids, will be performed to investigate differential radiation induced cell death and DNA damage response after FLASH-RT and CONV-RT. Biological samples from WP2 will also be used to assess immune infiltration in both tumour and normal tissues along with tumour cell killing and molecular signalling.
  • WP2: Preclinical mouse models will be used to investigate the impact of FLASH dose rates, as compared to conventional dose rates, on breast cancer treatment. Simultaneously, we will compare normal tissue toxicity on the skin, soft tissue, lungs and heart between FLASH and conventional dose rate radiation therapy. Finally, we will investigate innovative combinations in the field of FLASH research with tamoxifen/letrozole, as this influences cosmetic outcome after CONV-RT.


  • You will work actively on the preparation and defence of a PhD thesis in the field of radiobiology.
  • You will publish scientific articles related to the research project.
  • You contribute to teaching and research in the Center for Oncological Research of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
  • You will carry out research a number of and support tasks for the Center for Oncological Research of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.



  • You hold a Master’s degree in biomedical or pharmaceutical sciences, biochemistry or biotechnologies, cancer biology, radiobiology or cell biology (or equivalent).
  • A Master's degree in medicine might be considered, provided sufficient experience has been acquired in the fields as mentioned above
  • You can submit outstanding academic results.
  • You have previous experience in a biology laboratory.
  • Demonstrated skills in organization, data handling and statistical analysis.
  • Proficiency in English with equivalent C1 oral level or above, written and interpersonal communication skills. Linguistic level B2 with a demonstrated plan to acquire level C1 can be considered.
  • Experience in team working
  • Your teaching competences are in line with the University of Antwerp’s educational vision .
  • Your research qualities are in line with the faculty and university research policies .
  • You act with attention to quality, integrity, creativity and cooperation.

Desirable skills

  • Knowledge in radiobiology
  • Hands on experience with mouse experimentation
  • Cell culture
  • Microscopy
  • Flow cytometry
  • You hold a FELASA Cat C certificate or equivalent certificate for animal experimentation.
  • Foreign candidates are encouraged to apply.

What we offer

  • We offer a doctoral scholarship for a period of two years, with the possibility of renewal for a further two-year period after positive evaluation.
  • The planned start date is as soon as possible.
  • Your monthly scholarship amount is calculated according to the scholarship amounts for doctoral scholarship holders on the pay scales for Contract Research Staff (Dutch: Bijzonder Academisch Personeel, BAP).
  • You will receive ecocheques, and a bicycle allowance or a full reimbursement of public transport costs for commuting.
  • You will do most of your work at Drie Eiken Campus / UZA in a dynamic and stimulating working environment.
  • Find out more about working at the University of Antwerp here .

Want to apply?

  • You can apply for this vacancy through the University of Antwerp’s online job application platform up to and including 17 January 2022, (by midnight Brussels time). Click on the 'Apply' button, complete the online application form and be sure to include the following attachments: a motivation letter, your academic CV with academic references.
  • The selection committee will review all the applications as soon as possible after the application deadline. As soon as a decision has been made, we will inform you about the next steps in the selection procedure.
  • If you have any questions about the online application form, please check the frequently asked questions or send an email to .
  • If you have any questions about the job itself, please contact Pr. Philip Poortmans ( ), Pr. An Wouters ( ) and Dr. Pierre Montay-Gruel ( ).

The University of Antwerp received the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award for its HR policy. We are a sustainable, family-friendly organisation which invests in its employees’ growth. We encourage diversity and attach great importance to an inclusive working environment and equal opportunities, regardless of gender identity, disability, race, ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age. We encourage people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse characteristics to apply.

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