PhD Student in Genomic Instability in Cancer (ref. PREDOC/21/01)

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IRB Barcelona is seeking a motivated wet-lab PhD student to work on the project entitled “Improved Clinical Decisions Via Integrating Multiple Data Levels to Overcome Chemotherapy Resistance In High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer (DECIDER)”, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (proposal No 965193).  

DECIDER is an international consortium consisting of 14 academic labs and 4 companies spread across 7 EU countries and coordinated by University of Helsinki.  The project has a strong translational component, aiming to bringing actionable insight to the clinic to improve treatment of recurrent, drug-resistant ovarian cancer and improve patient outcomes.

The role of the Genome Data Lab of the IRB in the DECIDER project is to chart tumor evolution via large-scale chromosomal alterations: we will examine how driver mutations that confer fitness benefits (aggressive growth and/or drug resistance) change through time, with the aim of being able to anticipate cancer evolution.

The work of the PhD student will address the following objectives:

(i) generating models of genomic instability in ovarian cancer cell lines by combinatorially abolishing activity of various DNA repair genes via gene editing; (ii) performing genome sequencing of the models and data analysis thereof, analysing genomic patterns, and comparing with genomic patterns occurring in tumors; (iii) experimental assays to monitor drug resistance or sensitivity in mixed populations of cancer cells containing multiple genomic edits.

The research will be performed in the Genome Data Science lab (, under supervision of ICREA Professor and EMBO YIP Fran Supek, and in collaboration with the diverse, international team in the lab, which consists of genomics biologists, wet-lab biologists and mathematicians at the PhD and postdoc level. Additionally, the student may collaborate with other project partners (in Finland, Italy, France, Germany, Denmark or Sweden) to boost the quality of the work above.

Start date is flexible; spring 2021 is preferable. Early applications are encouraged.


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- Perform excellent research according to the high standards of the Supek lab and the IRB Barcelona

- Publish results in top-tier computational biology and/or genetics journals

- Present at weekly lab meetings and journal clubs, at department seminars, and conferences

- Engage in teamwork with other members of the host lab to facilitate progress on the project

- Participate in the DECIDER project activities: meetings, presentations, visits to other labs, collaboration, exchange of data sets, preparing project reports/deliverables.



Must Have – Required: 

  • Experience: MSc. in the life sciences. Extensive experience with mammalian cell culture and with cloning.
  • Skills: highly motivated, enthusiastic. Good interpersonal and organizational skills. High level of spoken and written English.


  • Experience: Experience with genome editing techniques (e.g. CRISPR/Cas9 or Cas12). Experience with designing combinatorial libraries of genome editing reagents.  Experience with mammalian cell differentiation in vitro.
  • Skills: independent, self-learning, goal-oriented. Knowledge of topics in the field of cancer biology, evolutionary biology or genetic interactions analysis.


  • Working conditions: Employed in compliance with Spanish legislation and regulations under a full-time contract. Employees receive the benefits of the Spanish Social Security system covering sickness, maternity/paternity leaves and injuries at work.
  • Training and Career: Training is a way of life at IRB Barcelona. Courses and workshops on themes of particular interest to PhD Students are offered regularly by the Institute.
  • International environment: Nearly 100 PhD Students (almost half non-Spanish nationals) are currently working toward their research at IRB Barcelona.



  • Deadline for applications: 21/02/2021 (If no suitable candidate is found, the deadline will be extended) 
  • Number of positions available: 1
  • Selection process:
    • Pre-selection: Will be based on CV, motivation letter, experience, management of research and innovation. 
    • Interviews: Short-listed candidates will be interviewed.
    • Job offer: Will be sent to the successful candidate after the interview. 

Note: The strengths and weaknesses of the applications will be provided upon request.

'If you, as an applicant, have any suggestion or wish to make a complaint regarding the selection process, please contact us at the following email address: You will receive a response within a month.'


Or, know someone who would be a perfect fit? Let them know!


IRB Barcelona - Institute for Research in Biomedicine
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