Call for Application #2023-BMX-C03 closed since February 20, 2024

New Strategies to Engage Neutrophils in Solid Tumors

Call closed!

1 Group Leader
2 Postdoctoral Researchers
2 Research Assistants

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 Engage Neutrophils in Solid Tumors

If you hold a PhD or master’s degree with an outstanding track record or strong interest in this field and if you are interested in leading or being part of an interdisciplinary 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 Ono Pharmaceutical.

Cancer immunotherapies targeting T cells have proven highly effective for certain cancer patients. However, many patients remain resistant to these therapies, necessitating the development of novel strategies. The tumor microenvironment (TME) hosts various immune cells that could be leveraged to generate next-generation immunotherapies for patients resistant to existing treatments.

Recently, some agents targeting macrophages or NK cells have emerged and show certain efficacy. As for neutrophils, whose association with cancer has been reported in many articles, the biology remains unclear and there are some conflicting reports regarding their pro- and anti-tumor functions. Although some clinical-stage agents target pro-tumor attributes of neutrophils, they have demonstrated limited efficacy. Regarding their anti-tumor side, neutrophils possess various mechanism for directly and indirectly eliminating cancer cells, such as cytokine release as innate killer cells, production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and antigen presentation. We are especially interested in exploiting anti-tumor functions of neutrophils within the TME to generate next-generation immunotherapies.

Interested researchers are invited to propose innovative experimental approaches focusing on novel mechanisms to engage neutrophils in solid tumors. The aim is to overcome the limitations of existing T-cell therapies by effectively targeting and destroying cancer cells in cold-type tumors through anti-tumor mechanisms as described above. Research proposals should address the following key challenges:

  • Generation of novel strategies to harness neutrophil function in solid tumors preferably based on antibodies and engagers;
  • Identification and validation of novel neutrophil mechanisms against solid tumors;
  • Development of robust in vitro assay systems allowing the assessment of neutrophil function in solid tumors;
  • Characterization of potential neutrophil modulators (e.g. antibodies and engagers) both in vitro and in vivo.

Proposals showcasing originality, particularly those grounded in preliminary experimental evidence, are highly encouraged. Successful strategies have the potential to significantly enhance survival rates in patients unresponsive to current cancer immunotherapies, thereby opening new avenues in oncological treatment.

Group leader positions are intended to suit candidates with a PhD (or equivalent) in immunology, oncology, or in a related field 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.

Candidates for postdoctoral positions are expected to have completed a PhD (or equivalent) within the last three years and a certain degree of specialization in one or more relevant cutting-edge technologies and scientific areas.

What we offer

  • A position in a fully funded research group with an annual budget of 950,000 EUR. The funding package covers salaries, consumables, services, travel costs, as well as access to the core facilities of neighboring research institutions in Heidelberg;
  • A project term of three to five years;
  • An exciting research opportunity in a multidisciplinary and international research institute with a collegial and flexible working environment;
  • Participation in the BioMed X Boot Camp where you 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 August 1st, 2024.

Application & Selection Process

  • Please apply via the Career Space on this website
  • 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: February 20th, 2024
  • After a first selection round, candidates will be invited to a five-day innovation boot camp in Heidelberg from April 22nd to 26th, 2024. 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 with sites in Heidelberg, Germany, New Haven, Connecticut, XSeed Labs in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and a worldwide network of partner locations. Together with our partners, we identify big biomedical R&D 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

Phone: +49 6221 42611 0