as soon as possible
part-time (25 hrs / week); initially limited for 3 years according to WissZeitVG
Your salary will be based on TV-L

» Your tasks

We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD student to join our newly founded Integrated Cancer Research Laboratory at the CECAD in Cologne. As a PhD student, you will work on large, well-annotated cohorts of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) to explore correlations between cytomorphologic and genetic features based on blood smears and tissue biopsies. You will have access to a unique set of data and samples, building AI-assisted models to predict the presence of clinically relevant genetic alterations. The project has practical implications for patients and physicians by generating tools that improve the clinical management of CLL. You will therefore have a positive impact on the lives of patients with cancer.

» Your Profile

  • A Master’s degree in computer science or related field
  • Strong interest in applied machine learning and deep learning
  • Interest in pattern recognition, computer vision and (biomedical) image analysis
  • Experience in common ML frameworks and programming languages (e.g. Python, Matlab and/or R)
  • Well organized and structured worker, open minded for close collaboration in an interdisciplinary team
  • Excellent communication in English (written and speech)


Would you like to join us or want to hear more? Feel free to reach out to Dr Othman Al-Sawaf ( in case you have any questions or submit you application via the link below (including a detailed CV, list of publications, contacts for 1-2 references and a brief statement on your research interests).

» Our Offer

  • A fully funded PhD position
  • A great collaborative atmosphere on a modern campus with state-of-the-art core facilities
  • Working and living in a great international city in the heart of Europe
  • Access to unique biosamples and clinical data with unprecedented granularity
  • A highly motivated group with high national and international visibility of all team members
  • Working in a network with academia and industry
  • Regular active attendance of national and international scientific meetings
  • Position is for a fixed term of 3 years, but with possible long-term prospects

» Your future with us

Working at the University Hospital Cologne and the Medical Faculty means helping to shape the future - the future of medicine, of patients and, of course, your own future. You benefit from 60 clinics and institutes as well as numerous other departments and facilities and more than 12,000 jobs. The Faculty of Medicine of the University of Cologne and the University Hospital Cologne assume important social tasks in research, teaching and patient care. A close network with many university and non-university partners guarantees an internationally successful science and the excellent education of our students.

» Your future in detail

The Integrated Cancer Research Laboratory, led by Dr Othman Al-Sawaf and based at the CECAD and Department I of Internal Medicine, was founded in 2024 and is funded by a large Emmy-Noether-Grant of the German Research Council (DFG). The focus of the lab is to integrate multimodal analyses to study the plasticity, evolution and prognosis of cancer with a special focus on hematological malignancies. To this end, the lab utilizes a unique biobank with blood and bone marrow samples from patients treated within large (>900 patients) prospective clinical trials. The group is embedded in a network with many local collaborators, including the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1530 and the German CLL Study Group, as well as many national and international partners in academia and industry. Previous work has been frequently cited (Al-Sawaf et al, Nature Medicine 2024; Al-Sawaf et al, Nature Medicine 2023; Al-Sawaf et al, Nature Communications 2023; see Pubmed) and the aim of the lab is to continue producing highly impactful and patient-relevant results.

Applications from female candidates are expressly welcome and will be given priority in the event of equal suitability, competence and professional performance.

People with disabilities are welcome to apply and will be treated preferentially in the event of equal suitability and qualification.

Dr. Othman Al-Sawaf
Application deadline: 07.07.2024
Universitätsklinikum Köln AöR
Geschäftsbereich Personal
Job-ID: 00004543
50937 Köln