Scientific Missions

About Short-Term Scientific Missions:

EURO-CHOLANGIO-NET (European Cholangiocarcinoma Network) is actively seeking investigators to take part in short-term scientific missions (STSMs) in COST Action member countries or at approved institutions. STSMs are training initiatives that have a minimum duration of at least 5 days (including travel). The aims of STSMs are to promote collaboration and exchanges between participating institutions by providing investigators with the opportunity to visit institutions of scientific excellence in order to learn techniques or expertise that may be lacking at the local institution.

Successful applicants will receive a STSM grant to be applied towards their overall travel, accommodation, and meal expenses according to the following scheme:

  • Up to a maximum of EUR 4 000 in total can be afforded to each successful applicant, based on the duration of the STSM and the availability of funds.

What we are looking for:

We are seeking investigators to take part in short-term scientific missions. STSM applicants must be affiliated to an institution, organisation, or legal entity which has within its remit a clear association with performing research and is located in a full COST member country or near neighbor country. For more details see here: Annex-I-level-A-Country-and-Organisations-Table-REVISION.pdf (

We invite interested applicants to submit their proposals that address how we can achieve the objectives of our Action, with particular reference to the development and dissemination of registries and the main working group projects. Proposals will be selected on the basis of scientific excellence, young researcher participation, gender equality, geographical inclusiveness, and inclusiveness target country and near neighbor involvement.

Please refer to our Memorandum of Understanding for more information about our Action, deliverable objectives, implementation strategies, and working groups:

 Please note that this year we also welcome the participation of researchers from near-neighbor countries, including Ukraine.


How to apply:

Interested candidates can apply by submitting a motivation and workplan summary of approximately 2000 words which includes:

  1. Aim & motivation – Please explain the scientific and/or other motivation for the STSM and what scientific and/or other outcomes you aim to accomplish with the STSM.
  2. Proposed contribution to the scientific objectives of the Action.
  3. Techniques – Please detail what techniques or equipment you may learn to use, if applicable.
  4. Planning – Please detail the steps you will take to achieve your proposed aim.

Candidates must submit their STSM applications online at the following web address:

Submission deadline is 31 January 2023. All STSMs must be completed by 1 September 2023.



Select opportunities currently available:


Institute: Universidad del País Vasco / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU)

Contact email: (Prof. Fernando P. Cossío)

Training opportunity / area of research: The hosting group offers the opportunity of a focused training on the chemical synthesis of novel heterocyclic compounds aiming at generating novel bioactive molecules against cholangiocarcinoma. All these scientific activities are included within the WG6 of the Network (Development of novel therapeutic targets and tools) led by Prof. Chiara Braconi. The scientific activities to be carried out are the following:

  1. Microwave-assisted organic synthesis (MAOS).
  2. High-order cycloadditions.
  3. Chemical synthesis of fluorescent bioactive molecules.
  4. Organometallic catalysis.

The skills to be acquired are, among others:

  1. a) Characterization of novel chemical entities.
  2. b) Purification techniques.
  3. c) Spectroscopic analysis.


Institute: Universidad Complutense Madrid (UCM)

Contact email: Francisco Javier Cubero; Email:

Training opportunity/area of research: Exploring the role of the Phosphatase 2A (PP2A) complex in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (iCCA) initiation and progression

Phosphatase 2A (PP2A) enzymes are considered crucial tumor suppressors due to their central role in regulating many kinase-driven oncogenic pathways. Using a KO model we have observed an important tumor suppressive role of the PP2A complex in mouse liver tumorigenesis. Our laboratory is interested in exploring the role of PP2A in intrahepatic cholangiocarcionoma (iCCA) initiation and/or progression which remains elusive.


Institute: Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori di Milano, Medical Oncology Department

Contact email:

Training opportunity/area of research: Our Oncology Team has a long-lasting experience in the setting of GI cancers, including CCA, since INT represents a big referral center and it has a leading role in Italian oncology research networks. For CCA, we focus mainly on: translational research, biomarkers, developing academic clinical trials, integration of ctDNA and CTC approaches in clinic, molecular tumor profiling (with a focused molecular tumor board). We also have a dedicated Phase I team focused on experimental therapeutics.


Institute: Institute for Liver & Digestive Health, University College London, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK

Contact email:

Training opportunity/area of research: The translational research performed at the Pereira/Acedo’s lab focuses on: 1) the discovery and validation of early detection biomarkers for primary sclerosing cholangitis and cholangiocarcinoma; 2) the evaluation of novel therapeutic strategies based on combination therapy; 3) the development and characterisation of multicellular 3D culture models of cholangiocarcinoma. We are also glad to provide training opportunities for clinical trainees interested in biliary diseases.

Twitter: @pilar_acedo / @PereiraAcedoLab


Institute: Sapienza Università di Roma

Contact email:

Training opportunity/area of research: The Laboratory of Experimental and Clinical Hepatology located in the Department of Translational and Precision Medicine at Sapienza University of Rome is fully equipped to conduct studies through the most advanced techniques of cellular isolation from solid tissues, including immunosorting, cell culture techniques, including organoids, studies on experimental models. The laboratory is equipped to conduct cellular and molecular biology studies, including functional in vitro studies, PCR, protein expression analysis with multiple techniques, and immunofluorescence. The fields of interest range from translational research on stem cells of endodermal organs (liver, biliary tree, pancreas and duodenum) to experimental and clinical research on cholangiocarcinoma, cholestatic and autoimmune liver diseases, and NAFLD to regenerative medicine of liver disease.


Institution name: IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital, Milano

Contact emails: Prof. Luca Aldrighetti,; Dr. Francesca Ratti,

Training opportunity/area of research:

At Hepatobiliary Surgery Division of San Raffaele Hospital (Milano) an high volume of activity (total caseload: 1000 patients undergoing surgery from 2004 to 2022; annual caseload: 80/100 patients submitted to surgical treatment) specifically dedicated to surgical treatment of cholangiocarcinoma (both intrahepatic and perihilar) have been developed. Specialized skills cooperate in order to standardize and optimize the treatment of this disease while maintaining the philosophy of “patient-tailored therapy”. A multidisciplinary approach with the synergistic intervention of surgeons, radiologists, oncologists, gastroenterologists and radiotherapists is focused on preoperative optimization strategy, surgical treatment and adjuvant therapies. A multidisciplinary meeting specifically dedicated to biliary tumors has been implemented, including the participation of oncologists and radiologists with specific expertise in cholangiocarcinoma. Ongoing clinical and translational trials focus on minimally invasive approaches, oncological outcomes and risk stratification.


Institute: Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Florence, Italy 

Contact emails: /

Training opportunity/area of research: metabolics aspect of cholangiocarcinoma stem-like compartment, stemness features and cholangiocarcinoma associated stroma


Institute: Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre, Glasgow, U.K. 

Contact email:

Training opportunity/area of research: Dr. Braconi’s research team integrates the study of molecular biology with clinical research to sustain a patient-oriented programme in biliary cancers. She combines the study of transcriptional and post-transcriptional modifications with patient derived organoids to inform drug discovery and biomarker development in cholangiocarcinoma. Dr. Braconi is also leading the Biliary Cancer Clinic at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre and is glad to provide training opportunities for clinical trainees with a focussed interest in cholangiocarcinoma.


Institute: Biodonostia Health Research Institute, San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa, Spain

Contact emails: /

Training opportunity/area of research: biomarkers, pathobiology, experimental therapeutics, NAFLD & cirrhosis-related CCA, epidemiology, clinical (oncology & surgery).


Institute: Centre for Functional Genomics and Bio-Chips, Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Contact email:; webpage:

Training opportunity/area of research: Our group uses omics and systems medicine tools to study liver metabolic diseases and primary liver cancers. Our focus is on understanding the role of different factors, such as cholesterol (intermediates and metabolites), circRNA and disruptions of circadian rhythm, in the progression of liver diseases with a special focus on gender bias. We work with patients’ samples, animal models and cell lines. We are open to collaborations and offer training and collaboration in basic medicine for: (1) Transcriptome analyses using Nanopore long-read sequencing; (2) Circadian experiments in cell lines, testing how different factors affect the circadian rhythm; (3) Measuring the expression of circRNA in samples and perform functional analyses of circRNA in cell lines.


Institute: The Research Institute for Medicines (iMed.ULisboa) & Faculty of Pharmacy, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal

Contact emails: /

Training opportunity/area of research: biochemical, molecular and cellular tools for dissecting the role of microRNAs in liver pathophysiology. At the moment, we are focusing on the role of microRNAs and extracellular vesicles (EVs) in inter-organ communication in the setting of NAFLD and liver cancer; as well as its exploitation for the diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and prevention of liver disease.


Institute: Dipartimento di chimica e tecnologie del farmaco, Faculty of Pharmacy and Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy

Contact email:

Professor Bruno Botta’s Unit has expertise in developing chemical libraries of novel bioactive compounds (variably substituted flavonoids, benzophenones, xanthones, anthraquinones, alkaloids, steroids, terpenoids), many identified from natural extracts obtained from medicinal plants. The Unit can provide expertise with a unique in‐house library of about one thousand bioactive natural compounds, mostly isolated from several plants used in traditional medicine of South America and collected over the years. Botta’s group will be able to develop structure-based and ligand-based drug design approaches for selecting a limited number of candidate molecules likely to be active against a chosen biological receptor. In addition, Professor Bruno Botta’s Unit has expertise in another important phase of drug discovery: optimizing active Hits up to Lead compounds or, at least, Lead candidates by improving potency, stability, physicochemical features (i.e. water solubility, logP, polar surface area PSA, etc.), chemical properties, and metabolic/pharmacokinetics parameters (click here for more info).




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