ESR 11: Monitoring immune effects of hyperthermia in multimodal settings with radiotherapy in patients and definition of prognostic and predictive markers

PhD research

Host: Benjamin Frey

Co-PIs: Prof. Oliver Ott, Prof. Rainer Fietkau, Prof. Udo Gaipl

Recruiting organisation: Universitätsklinikum Erlangen (UKER), Department of Radiation Oncology, Universitätsstr. 27, 91054 Erlangen, Germany

Duration: 36 months


Hyperthermia has been shown to affect the immune system, but longitudinal immune data of cancer patients treated with hyperthermia and radiotherapy are missing. However, immune biomarker data should be of great value for prognosis and prediction and for individual therapy adaptions.


The doctoral candidate will perform detailed immune phenotyping by multicolor flow cytometry and multiplex ELISA analyses of whole blood of patients treated by hyperthermia and radiotherapy within clinical trials. Immune biomarkers will consecutively correlated with imaging data and bioinformatics approaches for analysis of data from high-throughput experiments or clinical trials will be applied and developed.

Our research team

The highly interdisciplinary research team for this project at the UKER consists of the senior physician for radiooncology and hyperthermia Prof. Ott, the Head of the Department of Radiation Oncology Prof. Fietkau, and of the translational scientists and head of the Radiation Immunobiology and Translational Radiobiology PD Frey and Prof. Gaipl.

Your experience

  • Candidates should have a Master’s degree in bioinformatics, medical informatics, computer science, molecular medicine, biology, mathematics, or in adjacent fields with methodological expertise in data and quality management of clinical studies
  • Experience in programming languages (e.g. Python, Perl, or R)
  • Basic knowledge in immunology and experience with standard laboratory work
  • Working as part of a team
  • Excellent higher education track record and strong scientific curiosity
  • Fluent spoken and written English skills

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

  • Experience in bioinformatics data analysis and scientific software development for high throughput data (next generation sequencing, microarrays, radiomics)
  • Experience in multicolor flow cytometry
  • Medical knowledge

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 the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen. 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 = €37.320/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 Dr. Benjamin Frey (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; +49 9131 85-44248).

Universitätsklinikum Erlangen

Our Department of Radiation Oncology of the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen offers the entire spectrum of modern radiotherapy and multimodal radio-oncological therapies from one source at the highest level. Clinical aspects of radiation oncology are predominantly examined within phase I, II, and III trials. This takes place on the ward, in the outpatient department, the therapeutics department as well as the treatment planning department and hyperthermia unit.

The main focus of the Radiation Immunobiology Group is set on how ionizing irradiation alone delivered in distinct fractions and especially in combination with further immune modulation such as hyperthermia is capable of inducing systemic and long-lasting anti-tumor immune reactions. Immune biomarkers are followed up by detailed longitudinal immune monitoring to predict radiation-induced and/or –modulated anti-tumor responses, but also to predict side effects of multimodal therapies.