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Characterizing and targeting TREM1 function in liver cancer

Project description

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a malignancy of viral or non-viral etiology, is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Its incidence has doubled over the last three decades in Western countries, probably due to the increasing prevalence of the metabolic syndrome and associated nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). While some HCC patients benefit from immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) immunotherapy, the majority of patients (~75%), particularly those with NASH-HCC, do not respond for unknown reasons. We recently used a multi-omics approach to characterize the tumor immune microenvironment (TIME) of HCC patients. Our results revealed a subtype of immunosuppressive myeloid cells, characterized by dual expression of genes affiliated to granulocytes and macrophages and enriched in the steatosis setting. These cells, marked by the expression of the inflammatory receptor TREM1, inhibit antitumor immunity, and predict a poor prognosis.

The objectives of this PhD project are therefore to:

• Characterize the mechanisms of their emergence

• Identify the metabolic and inflammatory factors in the steatosis environment leading to their expansion.

• Elucidate the functional link between TREM1 signaling and its pro-tumoral and immunosuppressive functions.

• Test newly developed immunotherapies targeting TREM1 to treat NASH-HCC

Start date

2024 Winter

Research fields

  • Immunology
  • Cell and Molecular Biology

Research Supervisor

Study Program

This project will be conducted as part of a PhD in Biology doctorat en biologie or Immunology doctorat en virologie et immunologie.


Hold a master’s degree in immunology, biology, biochemistry, pharmacology, or a related field. Be open to collaborating with an interdisciplinary team and working in different areas of research.·        Have a curious, resourceful and autonomous mind. 

Knowledge or experience in some or all of the following areas would be an asset:        

  • Cellular and molecular biology
  • Animal handling
  • Flow cytometry
  • Immunofluorescence
  • Bioinformatics

Financial support

INRS offers attractive scholarships. Each student benefits from financial support during their graduate studies.


Centre Armand-Frappier Santé Biotechnologie
531, boulevard des Prairies
Laval (Québec) H7V 1B7

Submission of application

Interested candidates can submit their applicant by using the online form below.

Please include:

  • a cover letter indicating your interest.
  • a detailed CV.
  • a record of all your academic results.
  • contact information for three people who can provide letters of recommendation

We encourage women, visible minorities, ethnic minorities, Indigenous people and people with disabilities to apply.

Published Maya Seleh - Characterizing and targeting TREM1 function in liver cancer

Project title : Characterizing and targeting TREM1 function in liver cancer

Curriculum vitæ (CV) *

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Academic transcript *

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Letter of interests *

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Contact information for three people who can provide letters of recommendation *

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