Joint ULB-UNIL Summer courses in Cancer Biology: from fundamental research to clinical development

UNIL principal investigator

Dr Jean Yannis Perentes, Faculty of Biology and Medicine

ULB principal investigator

Prof. Etienne Meylan, Faculty of Medicine


Cancer research is a fast-moving field, which translates into new possibilities for current and future treatments to an unprecedented level. Because research collaborations are necessary for a more profound understanding of the disease, it becomes important to increase the awareness of the cancer science performed in other Institutions than only our own, especially at an early career level.

We propose, through an educational PhD summer course in cancer biology, to bring together young scientists from ULB and UNIL who will, through this program, learn about cancer-related programs – from fundamental to clinical research – performed in both institutions. This course will be unique because it will take place in two consecutive summers, enabling UNIL PhD students to come and visit ULB in the first year, and ULB students to come to UNIL in the second year. Through the dynamic structure of this course, we believe it will act as a proof-of-concept and a catalyzer to initiate new research and teaching collaborations in cancer research.


This 2-times 1-week course will take place in the summers of 2022 and 2023. Ten PhD students per Institution will enroll and will participate on both years. Preference will be for PhD or MD-PhD students in their first, second or third year, in order to be sure they will still be a PhD student the year after. Based on the number of interested participants, a selection from their motivation letter might be implemented.

To reach a strong attractiveness, dynamism and usefulness, the course will contain several types of interventions. These will include:

  • Seminars from local Faculty including:
    • Basic scientists to present their laboratory research,
    • Clinical oncologists to discuss new clinical development and clinical practice,
    • Scientists from local cancer-oriented pharma to discuss about their career paths. Landmark paper discussions:
    • Local Faculty will propose landmark papers to be prepared and presented by pairs of students, each pair made from a UNIL and a ULB student.
  • Research presentations by PhD students. This will enable them to directly present their data in front of their peers.


  • Summer 2022: 1st part of the course during one week at ULB.
  • Summer 2023: 2nd part of the course during one week at UNIL.
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