Group Leader in Cancer Immunology

Leuven VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology

15 May 2023


VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology

Senior Scientific (Managerial)



VIB is an entrepreneurial and vibrant non-profit research institute in Flanders-Belgium with a clear focus on groundbreaking research in life sciences. More than 1500 scientists and technologists from over 60 countries are working in 9 thematic research centers located at the 5 Flemish Universities of Ghent, Leuven, Antwerp, Brussels & Hasselt and are studying the broad spectrum of molecular mechanisms that regulate the functions of the human body, plants, and microorganisms. VIB encourages and supports risk-taking, and enables collaborations with top scientists and institutes worldwide. By maintaining the highest standards of research, VIB creates an innovative atmosphere and provides a supportive and collegial environment that allows scientists to launch novel and ambitious research programs and encourages them to translate results into novel therapeutics, diagnostics, applications, and technologies.

We are recruiting a group leader in cancer immunology at the VIB Center for Cancer Biology (CCB) and the KU Leuven Department of Oncology (assistant professor), located at the Campus Gasthuisberg in Leuven, Belgium.

CCB currently hosts more than 200 scientists in 13 independent research groups and units who work on various hallmarks of tumors and their microenvironment including angiogenesis, inflammation, metabolism, genetic, epigenetic regulating circuits, and cancer immunology. Together we share the ambition to contribute to a better understanding of the biology that underlies cancer initiation, progression, and metastatic dissemination with the ultimate goal to develop more effective and specific anti-cancer (combination) therapies.

The Department of Oncology at KU Leuven unites basic and clinical cancer researchers at KU Leuven and the University Hospitals Leuven (UZ Leuven), one of the largest hospitals in Belgium. By creating a strong link between "bed" and "bench", our researchers aim at unraveling crucial mechanisms that underlie cancer initiation, and progression and at developing innovative cancer treatments. In particular, we ambition to contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying intratumor heterogeneity, its dynamics during progression & therapy response, and its complex interaction with the tumor micro­environment. The Department of Oncology is also engaging in education and fulfills a crucial role in the training of clinicians and cancer researchers.


You will lead a ground-breaking scientific program addressing basic research questions with pronounced translational potential. You have a collaborative mindset that will allow you to build bridges between existing research groups in the field of onco- & immunobiology at VIB and KU Leuven, as well as with other academic centers and the industry. You will focus on cancer immunology with a research-specific emphasis on a currently unmet patient need.

We are particularly interested in researchers working on the development of new research approaches that integrate single-cell and spatial multiomics analysis (i.e., transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, etc.), in combination with new innovative computational approaches. Ideally, the candidate will apply these methods to reductionist (i.e. 3D tumoroid models) or unique in vivo models (i.e. mouse genetics, in vivo lineage tracing, PDXs,…) and directly test or validate observations in these models on human tissue samples from the corresponding cancer indication.

A dedicated focus on a specific cancer indication and/or underlying biological process (metastatic dissemination, lymph node involvement, circulating tumor cells, or specific tumor/microenvironment interactions, etc. is considered a plus.

Your profile

  • You have obtained a Ph.D. degree in the (Bio-) Medical Sciences or another field that provides excellent preparation for the requested research program.
  • You have a strong research profile within the aforementioned research domains and the quality of your research is proven by publications in international leading journals and conferences.
  • You have an interest in outreach and broadly contributing to an exciting scientific environment.
  • Interdisciplinary mindset and keen on collaborating broadly in the center, the department, and the university.
  • You possess organizational skills and have a collaborative attitude. You also possess leadership capacities.
  • Experience in the fields of single-cell and spatial technologies is a plus.
  • You have international research experience.

We offer

  • A challenging position in a supportive and international research environment with committed peers (this includes a mentoring program and a Group Leader coaching track)
  • An employment package that is internationally attractive and that is independent of research funding and grants, with excellent health benefits
  • Substantial core research funding (€1.25M to €1.5M), renewable every 5 years
  • Access to excellent and staffed core facilities at CCB, at VIB, and at KU Leuven
  • Broad administrative support in finance, HR, logistics, operations & regulatory affairs
  • Collaborative atmosphere with clinicians from the University Hospital UZ Leuven located on the same campus.
  • Assistance with daily life issues such as relocation including visa application (if necessary), move & housing, school & day care
  • This position is linked to a tenure track professorship position at the KU Leuven Department of Oncology

VIB is an equal-opportunity employer promoting an inclusive environment in which everyone is respected.

Expected Start date: 1st January 2024

How to apply?

Please use the VIB HR application tool to upload the required documents: motivation letter, full CV, a two-page statement of your past achievements and future research plan, list of publications, and contact details of 4 referees

Deadline to apply: 15th July 2023.

Suitable applicants will be invited to CCB to present a seminar on their achievements and future research during the months of September and October 2023. The visit will also include interviews with group leaders of CCB and KU Leuven as well as with VIB and KU Leuven management.

For more information:

Please contact the Scientific Directors Diether Lambrechts or Jean-Christophe Marine or the Operations Manager Michael Dewaele

About Leuven

Leuven - only 20 minutes away from Brussels by train - is a vivid university city with a rich history, a well-preserved historical town center, and a lively multi-cultural atmosphere. The city is surrounded by charming small villages, woods, and nature. Leuven has a lively atmosphere because of the many students from all over the world.

Leuven is home to the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, the largest and oldest university in the Low Countries and the oldest Catholic university still in existence. The related university hospital of UZ Leuven is one of the largest hospitals in Europe. Leuven and the surroundings are a great place for young people and families to live and raise children. There are many excellent day care centers and schools including an international school.

VIB values diversity - in backgrounds and in experiences. The institute needs people from all backgrounds and ways of life to help build a thriving scientific environment. VIB is therefore looking for candidates who are not only strong in their own aptitudes but care deeply about supporting each other's growth. VIB's collaborators are people with different strengths, experiences and backgrounds, who share a passion for science that generates impact in science and in society. Diversity not only includes race and gender identity, but also nationality, age, disability status, sexual orientation, religion and many other parts of one’s identity. All of VIB’s employees’ points of view are key to its success, and inclusion is everyone's responsibility.