Maxime Tarabichi

Our research

We are a computational biology lab with a small wet lab component, nurturing strong expertise in generating and analysing human ’omics data related to somatic evolution, cancer development and progression.

We study cancer evolution in general and its impact in the clinics, with a current focus on rare, often aggressive cancers, many of which have been arguably understudied and underfunded relative to their impact on patient lives.

These currently encompass:

  • Sarcoma subtypes, through international collaborations
  • Thyroid cancers, especially in their most aggressive form, i.e. the anaplastic thyroid cancers, through many national and international collaborations, building on the strong expertise in thyroid research at IRIBHM.

We want to help guide prevention, early diagnosis and treatment. Therefore, we aim to characterise spatial and temporal intra-tumour genetic heterogeneity to understand tumour evolution, as well as the reshaping of the tumour microenvironment in a clinical context, and relate them to molecular and clinical phenotypes.

Our strength lies in the development and implementation of computational tools to perform state-of-the-art nucleic acid sequence and image analyses.

Because every single of these rare cancer cases will make a difference, our lab also has a particular focus on building and maintaining the logistics and networking involved, and devotes efforts to help develop the optimal open biobanks and datasets that will allow for long-term research and collaborations.

Group members

Maxime Tarabichi, PhD, Group Leader (

2020 – now     Principal Investigator at IRIBHM, ULB
2020 – now     Visiting scientist at the Francis Crick Institute, London, UK
2016 – 2020    Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Francis Crick Institute, London, UK
2016 – 2020    Visiting scientist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK
2013 – 2015    MA in Management at the Solvay BS-EM, ULB
2010 – 2016    PhD in Computational Biology at IRIBHM, ULB
2005 – 2010    BA+MA Applied Sciences at Ecole Polytechnique, ULB

Lab members

Mathieu Parmentier – bioengineer, master student in bioinformatics
Nil Fernandez Lojo – engineer, master student in bioinformatics
Dalil Taher – master student in biomedical sciences

We are currently looking for PhD candidates and postdocs. We are always interested in enthusiastic researchers interested in computational biology, whether with a dry or wet lab background.


Tarabichi M,  Demeulemeester J, Verfaillie A, Flanagan AM, Van Loo P*, Konopka T*,. A pan-cancer landscape of somatic substitutions in non-unique regions of the human genome. BioRxiv 2020.

Dentro SC*, Leshchiner I*, Haase K*, Tarabichi M*, Wintersinger J*, Deshwar AG*, Yu K*, Rubanova Y*, Macintyre G*, Demeulemeester J*, others. Characterizing genetic intra-tumor heterogeneity across 2,658 human cancer genomes. BioRxiv 2020.

Gerstung M*, Jolly C*, Leshchiner I*, Dentro SC*, Gonzalez S, Rosebrock D, Mitchell TJ, Rubanova Y, Anur P, Yu K, Tarabichi M, others. The evolutionary history of 2,658 cancers. Nature 2020;578(7793):122–128.

The ICGC/TCGA Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes Consortium. Pan-cancer analysis of whole genomes. Nature 2020;578(7793):82.

Salcedo A*, Tarabichi M*, Espiritu SMG*, Deshwar AG*, David M, Wilson NM, Dentro S, Wintersinger JA, Liu LY, Ko M, others. A community effort to create standards for evaluating tumor subclonal reconstruction. Nature Biotechnology 2020;38(1):97–107.

Steele CD, Tarabichi M, Oukrif D, Webster AP, Ye H, Fittall M, Lombard P, Martincorena I, Tarpey PS, Collord G, others. Undifferentiated Sarcomas Develop through Distinct Evolutionary Pathways. Cancer Cell 2019;35(3):441–456.

Tarabichi M, Martincorena I, Gerstung M, Leroi AM, Markowetz F, Spellman PT, Morris QD, Lingjærde OC, Wedge DC, Van Loo P. Neutral tumor evolution? Nature Genetics 2018;50(12):1630–1633.

Tarabichi M*, Antoniou A*, Le Pennec S, Gacquer D, de Saint Aubain N, Craciun L, Cielen T, Laios I, Larsimont D, Andry G, others. Distinctive desmoplastic 3D morphology associated with BRAFV600E in papillary thyroid cancers. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 2018;103(3):1102–1111.

Tarabichi M, Saiselet M, Trésallet C, Hoang C, Larsimont D, Andry G, Maenhaut C, Detours V. Revisiting the transcriptional analysis of primary tumours and associated nodal metastases with enhanced biological and statistical controls: application to thyroid cancer. British Journal of Cancer 2015;112(10):1665–1674.