KU Leuven

Bioinformatics Postdoctoral Scientist on an EU-funded project

2024-04-01 (Europe/Brussels)
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KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

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The team of Prof. Abhishek D Garg (Department of Cellular & Molecular Medicine, KU Leuven) is seeking a suitable postdoctoral candidate with specialization in bioinformatics approaches, with special preference for spatial omics analyses. Prof. Garg’s team aims to apply advanced multi-omics and spatial omics approaches in the context of glioblastoma immunology. The project is a part of the GLIOMATCH grant consortium funded by the European Union (grant no. 101136670), under the EU Horizon Mission Cancer initiative, and supported by Innovate UK and the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research, and Innovation (SERI). For more information, see this website: https://gliomatch.eu/
The aim of Prof. Garg’s team is to capitalize on multi-omics and spatial glioblastoma patient data and apply highly relevant computational immunology and systems biology approaches to shed light on various clinically relevant immuno-oncology areas like effector functions or exhaustion of tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes, polarization of tumour-associated myeloid cells (DCs or macrophages), cross-talk between normal or tumorigenic tissue and last but not least, immunological cross-talk in the context of glioblastoma intra-tumour heterogeneity. The position will be embedded in the context of intense collaboration with various partners within the GLIOMATCH consortium, which will provide sufficient growth as well as training opportunities together with high success probability.

Selected publications:
1. Naulaerts, S., Datsi, A., Borras, D.M., Martinez, A.A., Messiaen, J., Vanmeerbeek, I., Sprooten, J., Laureano, R.S., Govaerts, J., Panovska, D., Derweduwe, M., Sabel, M.C., Rapp, M., Ni, W., Mackay, S., Van Herck, Y., Gelens, L., Venken, T., More, S., Bechter, O., Bergers, G., Liston, A., De Vleeschouwer, S., Van den Eynde, B.J., Lambrechts, D., Verfaillie, M., Bosisio, F., Tejpar, S., Borst, J., Sorg, R., De Smet, F., Garg, A.D. (2023). Multiomics and spatial mapping characterizes human CD8+T cell states in cancer. SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE, 15 (691), Art.No. ARTN eadd1016. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.add1016

2. Borras, D.M., Verbandt, S., Ausserhofer, M., Sturm, G., Lim, J., Verge, G.A., Vanmeerbeek, I., Laureano, R.S., Govaerts, J., Sprooten, J., Hong, Y., Wall, R., De Hertogh, G., Sagaert, X., Bislenghi, G., D'Hoore, A., Wolthuis, A., Finotello, F., Park, W-Y., Naulaerts, S., Tejpar, S., Garg, A.D. (2023). Single cell dynamics of tumor specificity vs bystander activity in CD8+ T cells define the diverse immune landscapes in colorectal cancer. CELL DISCOVERY, 9 (1), Art.No. ARTN 114. doi: 10.1038/s41421-023-00605-4

3. Sprooten, J., Vanmeerbeek, I., Datsi, A., Govaerts, J., Naulaerts, S., Laureano, R.S., Borràs, D.M., Calvet, A., Malviya, V., Kuballa, M., Felsberg, J., Sabel, M.C., Rapp, M., Knobbe-Thomsen, C., Liu, P., Zhao, L., Kepp, O., Boon, L., Tejpar, S., Borst, J., Kroemer, G., Schlenner, S., De Vleeschouwer, S., Sorg, R.V., Garg, A.D. (2024). Lymph node and tumor-associated PD-L1+ macrophages antagonize dendritic cell vaccines by suppressing CD8+ T cells. CELL REP MED, 5 (1). doi: 10.1016/j.xcrm.2023.101377

4. Sprooten, J., Vankerckhoven, A., Vanmeerbeek, I., Borras, D.M., Berckmans, Y., Wouters, R., Laureano, R.S., Baert, T., Boon, L., Landolfo, C., Testa, A.C., Fischerova, D., Van Holsbeke, C., Bourne, T., Chiappa, V., Froyman, W., Schols, D., Agostinis, P., Timmerman, D., Tejpar, S., Vergote, I., Coosemans, A., Garg, A.D. (2021). Peripherally-driven myeloid NFkB and IFN/ISG responses predict malignancy risk, survival, and immunotherapy regime in ovarian cancer. JOURNAL FOR IMMUNOTHERAPY OF CANCER, 9 (11), Art.No. ARTN e003609. doi: 10.1136/jitc-2021-003609
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In your role as a postdoctoral scientist, you will focus on application of (advanced) computational and bioinformatics methods to cancer tumour expression data (bulk RNAseq, single-cell RNAseq and spatial omics datasets), in-sync with clinical patient data to ultimately derive results relevant for immuno-oncology and cancer immunotherapy. Eventually these analyses pipelines will also integrate with other omics modalities in collaboration with other labs working in the GLIOMATCH consortium.

Overall, you will have the unique opportunity to shape as well as lead a high-impact immuno-oncology relevant computational/bioinformatics project aiming to elaborate the intricate cross-talk between various immune cells and the glioblastoma micro-environment in the context of clinical immunotherapy including (but not limited to) anticancer vaccines. These exciting research lines have a lot of translational potential for glioblastoma patients, as the field of cancer immunotherapy is rapidly expanding but remains in desperate need for biomarkers capable of guiding clinical decisions.

While spearheading this exciting and state-of-the-art research initiative, you will also be expected to have good communication skills, a highly collaborative spirit and willingness to work in collaboration with several different teams and clinicians. You will also be expected to provide advice and guidance to PhD students or postdocs from within our teams or other collaborating teams on computational analyses, especially spatial omics.

You should be able to organize and troubleshoot your work independently, document it thoroughly and communicate results and experience with the team in a transparent and professional manner.


We are looking for a computational biologist/bioinformatician who is highly motivated, well organized, and dynamic with a high level of independence and creative thinking but a flexible research approach:

  • You need to have a PhD with a topic in one of the following areas: Bioinformatics, computational biology, systems biology or similar.
  • Experience with computational immunology and/or spatial omics is an added advantage.
  • You should be able to demonstrate following skills: analysing and deciphering transcriptomic/genomic data, deriving systems biology-driven networks from omics data, proficiency with computational programming (e.g. R language/Python), analysis of publicly available cancer genetic expression datasets, and skills in application of statistical approaches to biological problems (e.g. statistical testing, linear modelling).
  • A proven and successful publication track record in this field.
  • High intrinsic motivation and a strong scientific curiosity.
  • Ability to be inventive and to present novel ideas in method development, data analysis and interpretation.
  • Team player that can work independently in a multidisciplinary (international) team.
  • Excellent oral and written English communication skills.
  • Proactive, flexible, and problem-solving attitude.
  • Experience in working with deadlines and being involved in multiple projects.


  • Duration: A full-time contract for one year with the possibility to extend (at least) 4 more years thereafter. You are stimulated to apply for a postdoctoral fellowship.
  • The position is immediately available.
  • (Early) access to state-of-the-art cancer patient single-cell and spatial transcriptomics data.
  • A stimulating (international, multidisciplinary) research environment where quality, professionalism and team spirit are encouraged.
  • The ability to work on scientifically exceptional and high impact, state-of-the-art projects.
  • The opportunity to be part of a young and dynamic team (Prof. Garg) as well as work very closely with a world-class EU consortium (GLIOMATCH) thereby providing a meaningful contribution to immuno-oncology research.
  • The KU Leuven is one of the most innovative universities in Europe. Leuven is located 20 min. from Brussels, in the centre of Europe.

More information



Please submit your CV and other supporting documents via the online application portal of KU Leuven.

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Abhishek Garg, tel.: +32 16 37 93 40, mail: abhishek.garg@kuleuven.be or Mr. Stefan Naulaerts, tel.: +32 16 37 74 81, mail: stefan.naulaerts@kuleuven.be.

KU Leuven strives for an inclusive, respectful and socially safe environment. We embrace diversity among individuals and groups as an asset. Open dialogue and differences in perspective are essential for an ambitious research and educational environment. In our commitment to equal opportunity, we recognize the consequences of historical inequalities. We do not accept any form of discrimination based on, but not limited to, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, ethnic or national background, skin colour, religious and philosophical diversity, neurodivergence, employment disability, health, or socioeconomic status. For questions about accessibility or support offered, we are happy to assist you at this email address.

Job details

Bioinformatics Postdoctoral Scientist on an EU-funded project
Oude Markt 13 Leuven, Belgium
Application deadline
2024-04-01 23:59 (Europe/Brussels)
2024-04-01 23:59 (CET)
Job type
Save job

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About the employer

KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

Visit the employer page