The Computational Biology Group (Prof Dagmar Iber) at D-BSSE, ETH Zurich is offering a PhD project in the field of Cancer Systems Biology.
PhD Thesis Project: Morphometric analysis of epithelial bladder cancer progression
The treatment of cancer remains a huge unmet medical need. Cancer invasion and metastasis is a key step in the transformation of epithelial overgrowth into a deadly disease. In the process of cancer progression, epithelial overgrowth results in the disruption of the normal epithelial architecture, and epithelial cells either fill the cavities that they line or they invade the underlying layers and metastasize. The clinical outcome therefore not only depends on the rate of growth, but also on the direction of its spatial propagation. This is particularly true for bladder carcinomas. Patients whose tumours grow into the bladder lumen can be easily treated by transurethral resection of the tumours, while patients with muscle-invasive forms have a worse prognosis. We will combine light-sheet imaging, laser ablation experiments, and computational modelling to understand the differences that lead to the two distinct directions of epithelial expansion – and thus to the two very different clinical patients’ presentations and prognoses. Here, we will exploit the easy access to the bladder and make use of the frequent biopsies that are taken from patients as part of the standard treatment routine. In parallel, we will establish a cancer mouse model.
The Student will be funded by a grant from the Personalised Health Initiative, and will work in a collaborative project with clinicians at the University of Basel. The project combine tissue culture, state-of-the art imaging of mouse and human tissue samples, and computational approaches to analysis epithelial bladder cancer progression. The project will be supervised both by experimental and computational team members, as well as by the clinical collaborators.

The ideal candidate holds a Master degree in biotechnology or related subjects with a keen interest in developmental biology, state-of-the art imaging & computational approaches and excellent organisational and interpersonal skills to drive this interdisciplinary Project.

We look forward to receiving your online application including a letter of motivation, CV, diplomas and contact details of 2 referees. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

For further information please contact Prof Iber, at dagmar.iber[at] and/or visit our website