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Doctoral Program in Cancer, Immunology and Infectious Diseases (CID)

English title Doctoral Program in Cancer, Immunology and Infectious Diseases (CID)
Applicant Gönczy Pierre
Number 127171
Funding scheme ProDoc
Research institution Institut Suisse de Recherche Expérimentale sur le Cancer EPFL SV ISREC
Institution of higher education EPF Lausanne - EPFL
Main discipline Molecular Biology
Start/End 01.01.2010 - 31.12.2014
Approved amount 363'000.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Molecular Biology
Immunology, Immunopathology

Keywords (5)

infection; cancer; immunology; inflammation; infectious diseases

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Overall goal

The Doctoral Program in Cancer, Immunology and Infectious Diseases (CID) aims at training and educating a new breed of scientists who will be in a unique position to address the burning challenges posed to society by cancer, infectious diseases and aberrant function of the immune system.


Infectious diseases are responsible for half of the deaths in the developing world, and thus represent a major global health issue.
Similarly, cancer takes an important toll on human kind, being the third leading cause of death in industrialized nations. Aberrant function of the immune system is also a major cause of morbidity, leading to a number of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Despite important advances in understanding the molecular mechanisms at the root of these pathologies, there has been insufficient translation of this knowledge into their prevention, diagnosis and therapy. Failure to fully capitalize on these advances is due in part to the incomplete awareness of scientists conducting fundamental research of the related clinical situations, and reciprocally.

Specific aims

A critical emphasis of this ProDoc training module program is to train future generations of basic scientists so that they understand the complexities and challenges posed by real-life situations of cancer, infectious disease and aberrant immune function, thus enabling them to successfully communicate and collaborate with clinical researchers. This will be achieved through training in laboratories with a recognized track record in these fields, as well as through tight connections with the University Hospital (CHUV), and the integration of systems biological sciences at the EPFL. A rich educational program accompanies the training module, including dedicated doctoral courses, mobility between participating laboratories, organization of scientific symposia and student retreats, as well as development of interactions with other ProDoc training modules with overlapping interests.

Anticipated impact

We anticipate that this ProDoc training module will contribute in a significant manner to educating a truly multidisciplinary generation of scientists who will be in an ideal position to make a difference in the fight against cancer, infectious diseases and aberrant immune function. Moreover, we expect this program to foster the development of Lausanne into a center of excellence in these fields, and thus further promote the international standing of Switzerland in infection, cancer and immunology research.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
137065 Development of a microfluidics/biochip platform for high-throughput analysis of cellular chemoattraction 01.07.2012 ProDoc
132685 Rôle des protéases dans la réponse immunitaire et la tumorigenèse 01.03.2011 ProDoc
137128 Molecular mechanisms underlying effector and memory T cell differentiation 01.01.2012 ProDoc
141762 Quantitative and molecular genomics of Drosophila response to infection 01.11.2012 ProDoc


Cancer and infection represent major challenges for human health. Although important advances have been made in these fields in recent years, diagnostic and therapeutic tools are still lagging. Multidisciplinary research approaches that couple fundamental and translational aspects are expected to have a critical impact in making a difference in this realm in the future, in particular with the integration of novel technologies. The ambition of our Doctoral Program in Cancer, Immunology and Infectious Diseases (CID) is to train a new breed of scientists who will be particularly well positioned to tackle these issues. In fact, a distinguishing feature of our program will be to provide students with high standard education in the basic biological sciences, as related to Cancer, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, while at the same time making them aware of the complexities of clinical situations and the possibilities offered by the latest advances in cutting edge technologies.The CID program will be a joint venture between two existing sister PhD programs: the Cancer and Immunology program hosted by the University of Lausanne (UNIL), as well as the Molecular Biology of Cancer and Infection program hosted by the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). By way of this ProDoc Training Module, we intend to strengthen the interactions between the two institutions and thus capitalize on the unique scientific and educational assets of the participating laboratories. In this manner, we will also achieve a critical size in these fields and thus promote the international standing of Switzerland as a centre of excellence. As mentioned, one of the unique features of the CID program will be the combination of basic and clinical research through tight connections with the University Hospital (CHUV), as well as with the development and integration of novel technologies at the EPFL. For practical reasons, we intend to submit the three to four accompanying Research Modules (each for two to three doctoral students) at the October 1st, 2009 deadline.The CID doctoral program will provide a rich offering of courses and practicals to approximately 100 participating students initially (the majority of which will be funded by sources other than those provided by ProDoc Research Modules). In addition, an efficient supervision system will be put in place, which includes a qualifying exam after the first year, annual reports thereafter and a continuous mentoring system to guide students throughout their doctoral career. Furthermore, an annual student retreat and an annual symposium organized by the students will contribute to enhance the education of CID doctoral students. Overall, funding of this Training Module by the SNF will be critical for fostering the development of scientists who tomorrow shall help alleviate the burden of cancer and infection.