PhD position - Improved cytogenomic diagnosis in lymphoma: opportunities of optical genome mapping and long-read sequencing.





This project is a unique opportunity to apply new emerging technologies to the genetic analysis of non-hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The project will focus on the implementation of new standard of care diagnostic testing pathways for lymphoma patients and provide an opportunity to identify new recurrent variants in little studied, rare lymphomas. Our group is a member of an international network for the implementation of these new technologies to study genetic disease and we are collaborating with other European partners in this project.


Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL)is a common hematological malignancy. It is a heterogeneous disease that can beclassified into >60 different entities based on morphology, immunophenotypeand clinical features.

Increasingly, NHLclassification integrates genetic data, improving diagnosis and providingimportant prognostic biomarkers, allowing for adapted therapy. This integratedapproach is the standard of care that should be available to all lymphomapatients. However, this is hindered by a reliance of classical cytogenetictests on the availability of fresh tissue samples of adequate sample size.Furthermore, subclassification of some NHL entities remains difficult due to apaucity of biomarkers.

Emerging technologies, suchas optical genome mapping and long-read sequencing, combine genome-widedetection of numerical and structural variants in one assay overcoming thelimitations of current testing strategies. This project focuses on theimplementation of these novel DNA-based techniques in routine clinical care toenable standard of care testing for all newly diagnosed lymphomas and intendsto improve classification for entities where genetic understanding is currentlylimited by investigating novel recurrent variants in rare and aggressivelymphoma cases.

The project will be carriedout under the promotorship of Prof L. Michaux, head of the Laboratory forGenetics of Acquired Hematological Malignancies (Center of Human Genetics),together with Prof T. Tousseyn (Department of Pathology) at the UniversityHospitals Leuven (UZ Leuven). Both supervisors are internationally renowned expertsin lymphoma. Prof L. Michaux has extensive experience in diagnostic andexperimental genetic analysis of hematological malignancies, and has beeninvolved in many research projects concerning lymphoma etiology. Prof. ThomasTousseyn is an expert in clinicopathological studies and biomarker research inlymphoma.

  • We are looking for an enthusiastic and motivated candidate to start a PhD trajectory in the research group of Prof. Lucienne Michaux (Center of Human Genetics).

  • You have a master degree in Medicine, Biomedical Sciences, Bio-Engineering or equivalent (e.g. Sciences with a background in molecular and/or cell biology), or you will obtain this degree in 2023. 

  • You have strong English language skills as you will be interacting with partners from the International Working Group for Clinical Implementation of Optical Genome Mapping in Hematologic Malignancies, comprising 13 scientists from 9 renowned institutions.

  • You feel passionate about translational research with a strong focus on direct clinical implementation.

  • Being hosted in an enthusiastic and multidisciplinary team, consisting of medical doctors, (bio-)engineers and (biomedical) scientists.

  • Training opportunities in cutting-edge as well as standard of care genetic techniques.

  • Participating in patient-oriented research with immediate impact on clinical decision making.

  • Collaboration with European experts in the field of cytogenetics and molecular diagnostics.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Lucienne Michaux, mail: or Dr. Jolien De Bie, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than April 17, 2023 via the online application tool

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