Post Doc in Synonymous Mutations in Cancer

Catholic University of Leuven Laboratory for Disease Mechanisms in Cancer


The laboratory for Disease Mechanisms in Cancer (KU Leuven, Belgium, is looking for a motivated postdoc for our funded ERC consolidator project. Many labs, including ours, have performed exome and transcriptome sequencing on large series of tumor samples to discover cancer driver mutations. In most studies, only mutations that cause amino acid changes are considered, assuming that synonymous mutations in protein coding regions are meaningless. Nevertheless, several experimentally tested synonymous mutations have been ascribed a causative role in disease. Our data support that synonymous nucleotide changes can enhance gene expression and cell transformation via novel mechanisms, independent of splicing, and hence we hypothesize that the role of synonymous mutations in cancer is underestimated.


A computational biologist in the lab is applying bioinformatics and statistics approaches to delineate the landscape of synonymous driver mutations in cancer genomics datasets. You will be responsible for assisting in the selection of the mutations that are most likely to be cancer driver mutations. Your main responsibility will be wet lab testing of the selected mutations for their effect on the expression level of the mutant gene and on cell behavior, and for setting up follow-up molecular biological studies to unravel how selected mutations exert observed effects on gene expression level.


  • You obtained a PhD within the last 6 years or are close to obtaining a PhD in a relevant discipline.
  • You have a strong publication record.
  • You have a strong knowledge of cancer biology, molecular biology and genetics.
  • Experience in working with mammalian cell cultures as well as with standard molecular biology techniques is an absolute requirement (transfection, transduction, PCR, western blotting, cloning,…). Experience with multicolor flow cytometry and in applying CRISPR-Cas9 technology will also be required for the project.
  • Having a valid FELASA B certificate and experience with mouse models is a plus.
  • Apart from being a true team player, you exhibit a high degree of independence, have a problem-solving attitude and have strong analytical and technical abilities in addition to excellent communication and presentation skills.
  • You are fluent in English, both written and spoken.


  • An exciting job in a friendly and dynamic lab
  • A stimulating and supportive international research environment in an ERC funded lab at KU Leuven, an international top research institute.
  • Excellent training opportunities to broaden your technical and academic career skills.
  • 1-year funded postdoctoral position with possibility of extension provided a positive evaluation. The successful candidate will also be encouraged and will get full support to obtain independent fellowships (Marie-Curie, EMBO, or National funding organizations).
  • Our lab is situated in Leuven, a charming and vibrant university city that is only a 20 minutes train ride away from the city of Brussels, at the heart of Europe.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Kim De Keersmaecker, tel.: +32 16 37 31 67, mail:
Starting date: to be negotiated, as soon as possible.
You can apply for this job no later than January 31, 2022 via the
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
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: January 31, 2022
  • Tags: Oncologie

In your application, please refer to


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