Postdoctoral Researcher in Translational Cancer Research

University of Helsinki Faculty of Medicine

A Postdoctoral Position

is available at the Translational Cancer Medicine research group lead by Academy Professor Kari Alitalo at the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Helsinki, Finland. The Alitalo group is located in Biomedicum Helsinki of the Academic Medical Center Helsinki (Meilahti campus), which ranks at the top 10 medical campuses in Europe and among the top 50 globally. Alitalo leads the Translational Cancer Medicine Program that provides a multidisciplinary research environment for basic and translational research with state-of-the-art facilities, cutting-edge technologies and synergistic expertise of 10 research groups, with the support of two expert pathologists.

Research project

The position is funded by the Theralymph Horizon 2020 program ”Gene Therapy to restore lymphatic flow lymphedema”. The Theralymph translational research program brings together scientists from six European countries, one Biotech company and the Toulouse Rangueil hospital in France. The main objective of Theralymph is to establish non-integrative gene therapy methods for lymphedema, a disabling condition in e.g. cancer patients, induced by surgery or radiotherapy that cause defective function of lymphatic vessels.

The main objectives are to 1) Describe the physiopathology of lymphedema to better understand the mechanisms of loss of lymphatic function. 2) Identify therapeutic targets for restoration of lymphatic flow in lymphedema. 3) Validate therapeutic targets in preclinic models of lymphedema. 4) Perform a Phase I/IIa clinical gene therapy trial in patients who developed lymphedema after breast cancer using viral vectors.

Role description:

The candidate will validate therapeutic targets and tools in vivo in mouse models of lymphedema.

Key requirements:

We are looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral research scientist with a strong enthusiasm towards science. A successful candidate should have a PhD degree and strong background in molecular and cell biology, cellular biochemistry, genetics, cancer biology and/or other related discipline. Previous experience with biomedical and/or lymphedema research are considered an advantage and expertise in medicine related statistics is a necessity. Experience in mouse models is beneficial. Excellent communication skills (in English), and technical and organizational abilities are expected.

The position is available as soon as the best applicant is available. The project allows a two-year fixed-term position, with a possibility of extension. A trial period of six months will be applied.

The salary is at the level 5 for teaching and research personnel according to the salary system of the Finnish universities. In addition, a salary component will be paid based on personal performance, with an overall starting salary to approximately 3145 EUR per month, depending on the qualifications and previous relevant research experience of the candidate.

Please submit your application via the University of Helsinki Recruitment System by clicking the ‘Apply for the position button’ below. Internal applicants (i.e. current employees of the University of Helsinki) should submit their applications through the SAP HR portal. If you need support with the recruitment system, please contact recruitment(at)

Please attach the following documents to your application as a single PDF file:
• Cover letter (maximum 1 page) that details your past experience and motivation for applying to the post.
• CV (including publications)
• Contact details of at least two referees

The deadline for applications is February 15th 2021. Interviews will be conducted either in person or online.

For more information on the position, please contact Prof. Kari Alitalo (kari.alitalo(at) For additional information on the recruitment process, you may also contact HR Specialist Päivi Sinisalo (paivi.sinisalo(at)

About the University of Helsinki

The University of Helsinki (UH), founded in 1640, is a vibrant scientific community of 40,000 students and researchers. It is one of the leading multidisciplinary research universities and ranks among the top 100 international universities in the world. It is currently investing heavily in life sciences research. UH offers comprehensive services to its employees, including occupational health care and health insurance, sports facilities, and opportunities for professional development.

Together with the Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) and the Helsinki Institute of Life Sciences (HiLIFE), the Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, constitutes the Academic Medical Center Helsinki (AMCH). This medical center has been very successful in international comparisons, ranking among the top 10 medical campuses in Europe and among the top 50 globally.

The Translational Cancer Biology laboratory, led by Academy Professor Kari Alitalo, aims to discover novel mechanisms and drug targets in cancer that contribute to the design of more efficient treatment options for personalized cancer therapy. These new opportunities can only be translated to patient benefit if preclinical stage validation can be performed in tumor models that correctly mimic the extraordinary complexity and heterogeneity of tumors, permitting the discovery and validation of biomarker signatures that associate with the drug efficacy profiles of individual patients.

Research in the laboratory focuses on cancer stem cells, tumor heterogeneity and tumor microenvironment. The laboratory has revealed a number of new disease-related functions of vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs), angiopoietins, angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis. The goal is to use this knowledge for establishment of preclinical models for more effective targeted therapies on these diseases.

Due date

15.02.2021 23:59 EET