i2TRON - PhD Training Program

Information for MD-PhD positions

This DTU offers four positions with a competitive salary for medical doctors who aim to enhance their career by completing a PhD in the area of Life Sciences and Medicine with a focus on translational research and precision medicine.  

Work contract 

MD-PhD positions can be completed part-time for a maximum of 6.5 years starting 1 February 2021. A part-time appointment shall allow for the conduct of parallel clinical activities or training. The work schedule shall be arranged to best suit the appointed candidates’ needs.  

Eligibility for MD-PhD position

Eligible medical backgrounds include (but are not limited to):

  • Medical Doctors currently in specialty training (e.g. interns/MEVS in Luxembourg), preferentially in the area of oncology, neurology, neurosurgery, allergology or clinical immunology

  • Medical Doctors with their specialty training already completed and active in patient care 

To be able to enroll in PhD studies, the medical diploma must correspond to at least a “level 7” qualification (i.e. equivalent to a Master’s degree) as defined by the Luxembourg Qualifications Framework and the Framework of Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area. 

The spoken language in the DTU is English and proficiency in English is therefore necessary. To conduct clinical activities or training in Luxembourg, fluent spoken and written French and/or German is a prerequisite, willingness to generally improve fluency in languages is greatly appreciated. 

Suitable research projects

The translational nature of all the research projects proposed within i2TRON makes all projects suitable for candidates with a medical background to complete a PhD. The following supervisors are, however, especially suited to host a medical professional for a PhD due to their educational background and affiliation or due to the strictly patient-based approach in the PhD project:

1. Prof Rejko Krüger & Dr Feng He, LIH  
  • Project 3.1: Investigating the potential immunopathogenesis of a key familial Parkinson’s disease gene

  • Prof Krügers clinical and research experience extends over 20 years with a special interest focus in the genetics of neurodegenerative diseases, which has resulted in more than 150 scientific publications thus far (>20.000 citations, h-index 49)

  • Prof. Krüger supervised 19 MD and PhD students during their successful dissertation, currently supervising 6 PhD and 2 MD students at the University of Luxembourg

  • Since 2017, the Ministry of Health is supporting Prof. Krüger to lead integrated healthcare concepts for neurodegenerative diseases in Luxembourg: the “Programme Démence Prévention” (an initiative to prevent dementia) and ParkinsonNet Luxembourg (a care network of health care professionals for Parkinson’s disease)

2.  Prof Frank Hertel, CHL
  • Project 2.9: Robotic / stereotactic Intracerebral Drug Infusions (Convection Enhanced Delivery, CED) for neurooncological diseases (Brain Tumors)

  • has full supervision and training rights for medical doctors for the specialisation in neurosurgery at CHL

  • Weiterbildungsermächtigung for Molecular Biology at UL

3. Dr Barbara Klink, LNS
  • Project 2.10: Tumor mutational burden for personalized therapeutic decision making in cancer patients

  • has full supervision and training rights for medical doctors for the specialisation in human genetics (Weiterbildungsermächtigung für Humangenetik, Ärztekammer Sachsen from 2012-2018, since 2019 Ärztekammer Saarland)

4.  Dr Annette Kühn  and  Dr Christiane Hilger , LIH  (in collaboration with Prof M Ollert)
  • Project 1.2: Markers of shaping and educating the early life immune response to food proteins

  • the PhD project has a wide focus, including markers of shaping and educating the early life immune response to food proteins, allergens, early-life events, food allergy, inflammation, microbiome and window of opportunity

  • both PhD supervisors have gained international recognition in food allergy and anaphylaxis-related clinical research through multiannual collaborations with clinical centers in Luxembourg (CHL) and abroad

  • both supervisors have full PhD student supervision rights (University of Luxembourg)

  • a PhD candidate with completed specialty training would be especially suited for this project

5.  Prof Markus Ollert , LIH 
  • Project 1.4: Modulation of IL-6/IL-6R pathway for allergy specific immunotherapy

  • has gained international recognition as an expert in the diagnosis and immunotherapy of allergic diseases

  • is a clinician-scientist with specialisation in Dermatology and Allergology from Germany (Ärztekammer Bayern)

Only Applications in English including a cover letter stating up to 3 project preferences, a full curriculum vitae with at least 2 references, and the relevant diplomas showing marks will be considered.

University enrolment 

All MD-PhD candidates shall be registered at the University of Luxembourg for their PhD training. 

The UL is a dynamic, innovative, research-oriented, and multilingual university founded in 2003. It has achieved outstanding positioning in international higher education rankings. Four thematic doctoral schools currently host close to 900 doctoral candidates. 

The MD-PhD candidates will be part of the Doctoral Programme in Systems and Molecular Biomedicine within the Doctoral School in Science and Engineering. This doctoral program provides high-quality research training to PhD candidates in two complementary areas: molecular biomedicine with relevance to human health and disease, and systems biomedicine using experimental, high throughput technologies and computational approaches to analyse biological systems and disease processes.

Career Development and Training opportunities

A wealth of training opportunities are offered to the MD-PhD candidates, just as to the regular PhD candidates. Scientific and transferable skills training sessions are organised by the UL central administration, the UL doctoral school, and LIH. Furthermore, CHL offers public conferences and topic-specific internal seminars.

Next to the general training offer, translational training will be held within the i2TRON DTU, namely in clinical research, big data analysis, and statistics. 

To account for the specific focus on translational biomedical research, physician-scientists will be assigned as mentors to assure the comprehensive training across oncology (Dr Guy Berchem), immunology (Prof Markus Ollert), neurology (Prof Rejko Krüger), neurosurgery (Prof Frank Hertel), pathology (Prof Michel Mittelbronn), and genetics (Dr Barbara Klink). 

The MD-PhD candidates can also benefit from career orientation events and workshops that are organised by the UL and LIH to prepare for their next career step, be it in academia, healthcare or industry.

Find details on the i2TRON training offers here.