PhD student positions in cancer topology and cancer systems biology | Hebrew University of Jerusalem (# of pos: 2)
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

PhD student positions in cancer topology and cancer systems biology | Hebrew University of Jerusalem (# of pos: 2)


Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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29 Jan 2021
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The Drier la​b for systems biology of cancer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is recruiting PhD students to study chromosomal topology alterations in cancer. 

Our lab combines cutting edge experimental techniques with big-data analytical approaches to systematically study how alterations at regulatory DNA drive cancer or contribute to the disease. We focus on two types of regulatory DNA elements: enhancers (regulating transcription), and CTCF binding sites (regulating chromosomal topology, i.e. the folding of the chromosome in 3D).

We have previously demonstrated that aberrant DNA methylation of CTCF binding sites in IDH-mutant glioma [1] and SDH deficient gastrointestinal stromal tumors [2] perturbs chromosomal topology. In these tumors, accumulation of DNA methylation at the boundary between two topological domains inhibits CTCF binding and disrupts the insulation between the domains. This leads to aberrant interactions between an oncogene in one domain and enhancers in the other, leading to over-expression of the oncogene. This groundbreaking model links metabolic, epigenetic and topological alterations and demonstrates how they can drive cancer. We are now extending this framework to additional types of cancer as well as other diseases to test the interplay between inflammation, epigenetics, topology and gene regulation, and how is it dysregulated across different types of cancer. 

We are currently recruiting PhD students, as part of the Hebrew University PhD program in biomedical sciences. PhD candidates will perform research under a fully funded ERC project (CancerEpiTopology) to study the role of epigenetic topological alterations in tumorigenesis. The candidate may either focus on the experiential and biological aspects, the computational aspects, or may combine both. Starting date is flexible. Applications will be considered until the position is filled.

To apply please email CV and academic transcripts to

For additional details see our website at

[1] Insulator dysfunction and oncogene activation in IDH mutant gliomas. Flavahan WA*, Drier Y*, et al. Nature, 2016.

[2] Altered chromosomal topology drives oncogenic programs in SDH-deficient GIST. Flavahan WA*, Drier Y*, et al. Nature 2019, 575(7781), 229–233.

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