• 43007 Tarragona, Spain


OFFER DEADLINE : 30/09/2022 23:59:00 – Europe/Brussels                                            ORGANISATION/COMPANY : Pere Virgili Institute for Health Research (IISPV)
EU RESEARCH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME: HORIZON-MSCA-2021-DN-01-01      DEPARTMENT : Molecular Biology and Research Section, Hospital Virgen de la Cinta
LOCATION : Tortosa, Spain

Prof. Marylène Lejeune and Prof. Carlos López, established at the Molecular Biology and Research Section at the Hospital Virgen de la Cinta in Tortosa (Tarragona, Spain), a member of the Pere Virgili Institute for Health Research (IISPV), are interested in receiving Expressions of Interest of potential candidates for the Marie Sklodowska – Curie Doctorate Network (MSCA-DN-2021) call.

The title of the proposed project: Risk association of relapse for distant metastasis in breast cancer (BC) patients with the immune response of primary and axillar tumour using informatics analysis of standardized digital images and RNAm expression.
The overarching goal of our project is to identify specific immune response patterns present in the primary tumour and in the axillary lymph nodes associated to the survival and relapse of the patients.
For BosomShield, we are looking for a doctorate candidate will have the following responsibilities:
  • She/he will collaborate with diverse teams of scientists and engineers to build an advanced system for BosomShield.
  • She/he will design and develop cutting edge methods based on brittle computer vision, machine learning algorithms and deep learning (CNN, RNN, Transformers,….) algorithms.
  • She/he will help advance R&D by finding problems, implementing elegant solutions, and building tools that enable the team to move forward and to measure progress.

We are looking for talented and innovative self-motivated young scientists, strongly committed to high quality frontier and multi-disciplinary research and able to add new insights to the existing IISPV core expertise. IISPV as Hosting Institution located at Tarragona, Reus and Tortosa in Spain, has all the technical and scientific facilities for carry out this project.

The IISPV is an umbrella organisation that coordinates all the biomedical research activities in the province of Tarragona in Southern Catalonia (Spain). The Institute was founded in 2005 as a collaborative effort among hospitals (i.e. Joan XXIII University Hospital, Sant Joan University Hospital, Pere Mata Psychiatric University Hospital, Verge de la Cinta Hospital), primary care centres and Rovira i Virgili University. The IISPV is one of the research centres of the CERCA network of excellence (https://cerca.cat/) and a member of the Campus of International Excellence Southern Catalonia (http://www.ceics.eu/), which has reinforced the links with other knowledge-generating agents, the business network and the public administration. The IISPV provides its researchers with all the equipment, infrastructure and human resources necessary for the success of their projects. In addition, the Institute has extensive experience in the management /coordination of competitive national and international projects. We received the ‘HR Excellence in Research Award’ in 2015 and since then, we have invested resources and time to improve our work environment. Under the Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R) principles, the IISPV is committed to an open and transparent selection process. More importantly, we ensure that candidates are selected according to comparable and objective criteria, whilst respecting the principles of meritocracy, equal treatment, and opportunity.

The hosting research group includes members of the principal hospitals of the province of Tarragona working as pathologists, oncologists, biologists and informatics specialists that have participated in national and international studies in Spain and in Europe with the main objective of improving the response to treatment, survival and relapse in lymphomas and BC patients. The team has more than 15 years of experience in the study of the tumor microenvironment (immune cells, stromal cells and components of the extracellular matrix) in lymphomas and BC patients using immunohistochemical techniques, in situ hybridization and digital image analysis. In this new project, will also be studied differences in the expression of the mRNA in the axillary lymph nodes related to the immune response and the relapse and survival of the BC patient, which is the new line of investigation that have recently been initiated in the research group.

The benefits and training for the doctorate will be the following:

  • Training in advanced technical skills for radiological and pathological image analysis methods, from image acquisition to extraction of useful information for the creation of both radiologic- and pathologic-image biomarkers specific for each discipline.
  • Training in advanced programming skills for the development of AI-driven predictors for BC relapse, including data-mining techniques, database design, automatic/semiautomatic annotation of images based on prediction functions, co-training, etc.
  • Cross-disciplinary exposure between medical and technology environments for all doctoral candidates in order to provide seamless communication and integration of respective approaches in research.
  • To Provide to the candidate a personalized and comprehensive transferable skills package.
  • To establish a new network of breast cancer researchers, employers and employees, catalysing doctorates career progression in academia and industry-related sectors.
  • The candidate will be four times on secondment during the project execution:
    Secondment Country Timing Duration
    1 Poland M15 2 months
    2 Italy M20 2 months
    3 Germany M24 4 weeks
    4 France M30 4 weeks
At the attempted deadline for the submission of the proposals (30/09/2022):
  • Early Stage Researcher:
    • Knowledge of deep learning concepts and experience with deep learning environments (eg.: TensorFlow, PyTorch, etc).
    • Excellent practical software engineering ability, particularly Python and C/C++.
    • Knowledge of medical image analysis and working with image data.
    • Masters degree is highly recommended.
    • Collaborative spirit.
  • Nationality: Any.
  • Mobility: The researcher must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the host organization for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the deadline for submission of proposals (a relaxed rule for Career restarting and Reintegration).
  • Must be fluent in English (both written and spoken).

Researchers willing to apply should check that they fulfil the eligibility criteria and then send an expression of interest, consisting of:
  • Scanned copy of identity card, resident's card or passport currently in force.
  • Curriculum Vitae (Any research career gaps and/or unconventional paths should be clearly explained so that this can be fairly assessed by the evaluators; if you are a forcibly displaced researcher, please explain your situation in the CV; if you have been residing in Country in the last 3 years please provide the exact duration and motives of your stay and be prepared to provide the documentation proving it during the redress phase if required by the Project Manager). We strongly recommend you to use the Europass CV template.
  • Scanned copy of the certificate of the official academic qualification or proof of payment of the fees for the issuance of the certificate that allows the holder to access the doctoral studies. Students who hold Master degrees should present the scanned copies of their master's degrees. Students who are registered in an official university master's course that allows them to access the doctoral programme during the 2021/2022 academic year must present a scanned copy of their master's course registration form.
  • Scanned copy of academic transcript of the qualification equivalent to a bachelor's degree.
  • Scanned copy of academic transcript of the master's degree. Candidates who have not completed their Master's degrees must send their provisional academic transcript*.
  • Two signed and scanned reference letters. We will not contact the referees on your behalf.
  • A motivation letter, explaining his expertise and how the candidate is suited for the position she/he applies for.
  • Expressions of interest must be submitted to your account through https://bosomshield.eu/.
  • Researchers willing must apply to maximum two positions of the aforementioned 10 positions.
  • DCs will be pre-selected on the basis of internal evaluation.
  • Candidates will be informed of the results of the pre-selection two weeks after the deadline.
  • Interview between the highest ranked candidates of the pre-selection will be organed by the supervisors to select the final candidate.