CANBIO - PhD Training Program

Training in Cancer Biology: Focus on tumour escape mechanisms


Cancer is still in many instances an incurable disease with a growing number of affected patients in all societies. High quality training of young scientists is a prerequisite for developing improved cancer therapies and patient care.

Tumours can develop intrinsic and extrinsic escape mechanisms to ensure their survival and growth. Intrinsic escape mechanisms are based on cancer-inherent properties to evolve independently and circumvent the body’s defence mechanisms, whereas induced escape mechanisms are evasion strategies developed in response to therapy.

The CANBIO PhD training programme will tackle the major challenges of tumour escape mechanisms with the aim to develop more effective anti-cancer strategies.


CANBIO is a doctoral research and training program addressing the increasingly important clinical problem of tumour progression and recurrence. PhD candidates within CANBIO will be engaged in a collaborative and interdisciplinary endeavour to deliver novel insight into tumour escape mechanisms, disease monitoring and large scale data analysis in highly malignant cancers.

The research program will address aspects of genetic tumour heterogeneity, how tumour cells misuse the immune system to their own advantage and how therapy-induced changes in the tumour microenvironment affect tumour cells and induce metabolic resistance.

CANBIO aims at providing state-of-the-art training in cancer biology to next generation scientists covering molecular mechanisms of tumour progression, treatment resistance, biomarker discovery, therapeutic applications in pre-clinical disease models, as well as building computational disease models to facilitate innovative translational research.

PhD training and research environment

The CANBIO program gathers 8 Luxembourg-based research teams encompassing 13 principal and 3 junior investigators.

A maximum of 18 PhD candidates will conduct their research projects either at the Department of Oncology of the Luxembourg Institute of Health (Luxembourg), at the Department of Life Sciences and Medicine of the University of Luxembourg (Campus Belval, Esch-sur-Alzette) or at the Laboratoire national de santé (Dudelange). Several projects involve external collaborations and/or private companies providing insight into non-academic research environments.

Depending on the project and the PhD supervision, PhD candidates will be enrolled at a doctoral school of the University of Luxembourg, the University of Bergen (Norway) or the University of Paris-Saclay (France).


CANBIO is funded over a period of 6.5 years (October 2016 - April 2023) by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) through the competitive PRIDE program and, in addition, through intramural funds from the Luxembourg Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR). Individual PhD projects will last for a maximum of 4 years.