Research Group Leader (all genders) -New Strategies to Enhance the Immunogenicity of Tumors

BioMed X
Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg (DE)
19 Apr 2023
28 May 2023
Employment - Hours
Full time

What we are looking for

The BioMed X Institute in Heidelberg, Germany, is establishing a new, fully funded research group in the field of cancer research:

New Strategies to Enhance the Immunogenicity of Tumors

If you hold a PhD or master’s degree with an outstanding track record or strong interest in this field and are interested to lead or collaborate in a cross-functional team, we invite you to apply with a project proposal for a position in our new research group (1 group leader, 2 postdoctoral researchers, 2 research assistants).

Each BioMed X project team is sponsored by an industry partner. The sponsor of this call for application is Merck KGaA.

Recent advances in cancer research have shown that independent from the tumor indication, a better prognosis and a stronger response to immune checkpoint blockade are correlated with the general immunogenicity of the tumor. The current paradigm envisions tumor mutations to be one of the sources for immunogenic neoantigens, which are expressed and presented on the surface of the tumor cells, and which are recognized by the immune system to mount an effective anti-tumor response. Hence, increasing the tumor mutational burden may significantly broaden the population of patients which could benefit from cancer immunotherapy.

In close collaboration with our pharma partner Merck KGaA, the task of the new research group is to develop novel assay systems which allow the identification and validation of drug targets to increase the tumor mutational burden or tumor neoantigens. In addition, alternative strategies to increase tumor immunogenicity shall be explored, which may include activation of DNA-response pathways (e.g., STING pathway), induction of NK cell activating ligands or other immune stimulating pathways. Targeting tumor-specific DNA Damage Repair (DDR) mechanisms or exploiting tumor-intrinsic DDR defects to achieve these various immunogenicity phenotypes, is of particular interest.

Project proposals should focus on the following key challenges:

  • Develop smart (phenotypic) assays which allow a fast and quantitative readout of aneuploidy, chromosomal instability, mutational signatures/burden, level of neoantigen expression, activation of DNA-response pathways, induction of NK cell activating ligands in human and mouse cancer cell lines, human tumor organoids, or primary human tumor tissue samples.
  • Characterize promising pathways which selectively drive mutational burden and immunogenicity in tumor cells in the context of tumor DDR biology and validate its functional impact for the immune system in suitable tumor models.
  • Develop and validate novel stratification biomarkers and novel concepts for combination therapies to leverage DDR deficiency related immunogenicity for cancer therapy.

Original ideas reaching far beyond the current state-of-the-art are particularly encouraged.

Group leader positions are intended to suit candidates with a PhD (or equivalent) in molecular biology, cell biology, bioinformatics, or in a related area who would like to develop themselves towards a leadership career path either in academia or industry and have typically between three and six years of relevant postdoctoral research experience.


What we offer

  • A position in a fully funded research group with an annual budget of 800,000 EUR. The funding package covers salaries, consumables, services, travel costs, as well as access to the core facilities of neighboring research institutions in Heidelberg.
  • An initial term of two years, with the possibility of prolongation for up to three additional years.
  • An exciting research opportunity in a multidisciplinary and international research institution with a collegial and flexible working environment.
  • Participation in the BioMed X Boot Camp: learn how to build a compelling pitch presentation in only 5 days.

There is flexibility over starting dates, but successful applicants are welcome to take up post starting November 1, 2023.


Application & Selection Process


  • Please apply online at
  • As part of the online application procedure, you will be asked to submit: (i) A competitive project proposal that gives us an idea of your scientific expertise and creative potential (3-5 pages describing an interesting core hypothesis, scientific rationale, and a unique experimental approach); (ii) Your curriculum vitae including your publication record.
  • Deadline for applications: May 28, 2023
  • After a first selection round, candidates will be invited to a five-day innovation boot camp in Heidelberg from July 24 to 28, 2023. With guidance of experienced mentors, candidates will jointly work on their project proposals and present them in front of a jury on the final day. Successful candidates will be offered a position at the BioMed X Institute in Heidelberg, Germany.  


About BioMed X

BioMed X is an independent research institute located on the campus of the University of Heidelberg in Germany, with a world-wide network of partner locations. Together with our partners, we identify big biomedical research challenges and provide creative solutions by combining global crowdsourcing with local incubation of the world’s brightest early-career research talents. Each of the highly diverse research teams at BioMed X has access to state-of-the-art research infrastructure and is continuously guided by experienced mentors from academia and industry. At BioMed X, we combine the best of two worlds – academia and industry – and enable breakthrough innovation by making biomedical research more efficient, more agile, and more fun.



BioMed X Institute
Im Neuenheimer Feld 515
69120 Heidelberg