ESR 3: Tumor pathophysiology and the response to radiation and hyperthermia

PhD research

Host: Professor Michael R. Horsman

Recruiting organisation: Aarhus University

Experimental Clinical Oncology-Department of Oncology, Aarhus University Hospital, Palle Juul-Jensens Blvd. 99, DK-8200 Aarhus N, Denmark

Duration: 36 months


Pre-clinical studies in tumors have defined a clear relationship between the enhancement of radiation response and the applied temperature, the heating period, and the sequence order/interval between the two treatments. However, the role of the tumor pathophysiology in influencing the interaction between radiation and heat, or how the pathophysiological parameters change after treatment, or can be modified to improve outcome, is less clear.


A variety of murine tumor or human tumor xenograft models implanted subcutaneously in nude mice will be irradiated (photons or protons) and heated (different temperatures, heating times, and sequence and time intervals between radiation and heating). Tumor response will be assessed using tumor regrowth or local tumor control. The pathophysiological parameters, monitored before and after treatment, include analysis of functional vasculature, blood flow, and hypoxia, using histology-based techniques and/or imaging. How other therapies (i.e., vascular disrupting agents or immunotherapy) modify these parameters to improve the interaction between radiation and heating will also be investigated.

Our research team

Our research team is one of the leading authorities on pre-clinical studies involving the combination of radiation and hyperthermia with the PI having an established international reputation in this area. The department includes a fully equipped animal facility for undertaking studies involving both animal and human tumors and a variety of normal tissues. It has its own photon radiation machine, access to an adjacent proton facility, and various apparatus for performing hyperthermia studies. The department includes facilities for undertaking molecular biology analysis, cell culture, and immunohistochemistry. Pre-clinical imaging is also possible at the PET and MR facilities located in adjacent departments in the same hospital.    

Your experience

  • Candidates should have a Master’s degree in Biological or Medical Science, or related field. 
  • Willing to undertake animal research.
  • Strong analytical skills and a quality orientated mindset.
  • Have a strong motivation for research and good communication skills.
  • Excellent higher education track record.
  • Fluent spoken and written English skills.

In addition, the following experience would be helpful, but not essential:

  • Previous research experience.
  • Experience in animal handling.

We seek a highly motivated scientist who enjoys an interdisciplinary environment and an interdisciplinary project, able to work independently but also as part of a team.

Our offer

This 3-year PhD position is funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions of the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 955625.  You will be appointed as fulltime PhD for 3 years with Aarhus University. The Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) programme offers a highly competitive and attractive salary and working conditions. The successful candidates will receive a salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for early stage researchers. Exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment [Living Allowance = €39.240/year (correction factor to be applied per country) + Monthly mobility allowance = €600. An additional monthly allowance of €500 is applicable depending on family situation. In addition to their individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education, which includes internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in workshops and conferences. 

Your application

See recruitment procedure. You can apply using the online application form. For more information about the position, you can contact Michael R. Horsman (email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; phone: +45-24 46 86 58). 

Aarhus University

Aarhus University was founded in 1928. It has 38,000 students; about 1,800 PhD students - of which one in four has a foreign nationality - and close to 700 postdoctoral scholars together with 8,000 employees. The University has four faculties covering the entire research spectrum – basic research, applied research, strategic research, and research based advice to the authorities. Currently, Aarhus University ranks among the top 100 universities in the world on several of the internationally recognized world ranking systems.