Title of the project: Investigating mechanisms of anorectal pre-cancerous development in a model of intra-epithelial neoplasia

Context: In humans and mouse, epithelial tumours frequently develop in transition zones which represent the junction between two types of epithelia such as between the anus and the rectum (McCauley et al., 2017). We have recently developed a mouse model of human anorectal tumors at transition zones to follow the early steps of tumor progression from healthy to pre-neoplastic stage. In these mice, the transformation occurs only at a restricted area allowing to clearly address the cellular and molecular mechanisms in both the epithelial and the immune compartments that contribute to the establishment of the tumor.

Project: The goal of the proposal is to characterize the pre-tumoral immune environment of future transition zone tumors and understand how its presumed specific characteristics modulate the susceptibility to tumor development.

The project will be divided in two axes:

1. Identify at the single cell level the malignant events that could represent early neoplastic changes occurring during the hyperplasic to pre-malignant transition at the anorectal TZ

2. Investigate the role of T cell anal transition zone stromal fractions in mediating epithelial hyperplasia to pre-neoplasic progression

This project is based on the use of a mouse model and a three-dimensional organoid culture of transition zone to examine in more depth at a single-cell level whether specialized subsets of lymphocytes present at transition zones are directly linked to susceptibility to carcinogenesis.

Required expertise: Interested applicants should have a PhD degree in Biology, Genetics, Biochemistry, or an equivalent field as well as a background in molecular cell biology techniques. Ideally, these will include experience with mouse genetics, mammalian cell culture, cell imaging and cell sorting (Flow cytometry). Experience in immunology and bioinformatics is welcome, but not essential. Prospective candidates will be part of a highly collaborative research team and expected to be highly motivated.


Send your candidature including a CV, a motivation letter and contact information for academic references letters to

Dr. Géraldine Guasch, Ph.D, HDR
Leader of the Epithelial Transition Zone team
Centre de Recherche en Cancérologie de Marseille (CRCM),
27 Bd Lei Roure, 13009 Marseille, France

Job description here