i2TRON  is a highly innovative PhD training program on “integrating immune strategies for Translational Research in Oncology and Neurology” and is supported by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) within their PRIDE program. We will develop the next generation of translational scientists as boundary crossers, domain experts and skilled communicators.

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The program includes individualized transferable skills training, career development programs, opportunities for international conference visits, internships in partner institutions, regular scientific lectures by leading international speakers and annual PhD retreats.

PhD candidates will conduct their research projects in a highly interdisciplinary environment at LIH, while being enrolled at the University of Luxembourg.

Project Title: Impact of gut microbiome on cancer immunotherapy

We are looking for an excellent and highly motivated PhD candidate interested in working in a translational research project conducted by Prof. Mahesh Desai in collaboration with Dr. Bassam Janji.


Immune checkpoint blockades’ (ICB)-based cancer immunotherapy has led to impressive and durable clinical responses in diverse cancer patients including melanoma. However, the groundbreaking success of ICB has been seriously challenged by clinical observations showing that only small fraction of patients’ gains durable and sustained clinical benefit from this therapy. The gut microbiota has been recently implicated in the success of cancer immunotherapy, yet little is known about the mechanisms behind the impact of individual members of the gut microbiota on the efficacy of the treatment.

Aim and Hypothesis

This project aims to understand the mechanisms of how fine changes in the gut microbial composition and metabolism are causally connected to the success of immunotherapy. An important aspect of this project relies on investigating how changes in the microbial metabolism, brought about by the changes in the dietary patterns including fiber consumption, affect the therapy. Such understanding will provide valuable strategies and therapeutic tools to correct potential defects in the microbiome that compromise therapeutic efficacy of ICB. Overall, this project addresses an urgent and a yet unmet clinical need of how to harness the potential of the gut microbiome to enhance the ICB-based cancer immunotherapy.


This project relies on the use of gnotobiotic mouse models containing characterized synthetic human gut bacterial communities and dietary intervention. We will employ state-of- the arte Cytometry by Time-Of-Flight (CyTOF) technology will be used for comprehensive analysis of the immune landscape.

What we offer:

  • Opportunity to perform applied research clinical relevance within a highly dynamic research institution (LIH)
  • An exciting international environment.
  • A competitive salary


For any questions on the program or your eligibility to apply, please contact: i2TRON@lih.lu


Applications including following mandatory documents:
1.    cover letter
2.    a full curriculum vitae with at least 2 references (contact details only)
3.    the relevant diplomas showing marks  (MSc, MD or equivalent)

should be submitted by 15 December 2021 through this”apply” button below.

Only complete applications (as outlined above) in English submitted via this portal will be considered.


  • Contract type:    up to 4 years fixed-term contract
  • Work hours:        Full time – 40h/week
  • Location:             Esch-sur-Alzette
  • Start date:           as soon as possible
  • Ref:                       VD/I2TRON1021/MD/DII ALL7


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