PhD Position in Neuro-Bioinformatics for Central Nervous System Repair

Catholic University of Leuven

Belgium

The NCDR has a strong interest in defining cellular/molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration, neuroinflammation and regeneration in the eye/visual system of teleost fish and rodents (for more info see: https://bio.kuleuven.be/df/lm). We position the eye ‘as a window to the brain’, allowing preclinical research into pathological processes contributing to human neurodegenerative diseases. The quest for neuroprotective and/or regenerative therapies to tackle these degenerative disorders and central nervous system (CNS) trauma is a central theme in our research. As the CNS of adult mammals has a limited regenerative capacity, identifying cellular and molecular mechanisms that enable neuronal circuit regeneration and functional recovery indeed forms a critical step towards designing future pro-regenerative therapies. Besides a special interest in defining the role of neuroinflammatory processes in de- and regeneration, we study an essential component of the neuronal circuitry that has been overlooked for decades: the dendrites. Based on recent intriguing findings, we hypothesize an antagonistic interplay between dendritic remodeling and axon outgrowth in the damaged CNS and are investigating intracellular energy channeling as an underlying mechanism. To tackle our research questions, we use mouse, zebrafish and killifish models and pursue a multidisciplinary approach in which advanced in vivo ocular imaging technologies and visual function tests are being combined with detailed morphological phenotyping, using confocal/multiphoton/light-sheet microscopy, optical clearing and time-lapse imaging, and longitudinal and post-mortem morphometrical analyses to follow inflammatory and de/regenerative processes. Besides, ex vivo/in vitro retinal tissue/cell cultures, state-of-the-art opto- & chemogenetic, cell sorting and (single-cell) omics approaches are available to further study the cellular and molecular pathways underlying neuroprotection/regeneration. All research runs within the ‘Vision Core Leuven’, a preclinical animal platform which brings together cutting-edge technologies within the field of ocular imaging, electrophysiology and visual function testing in laboratory animals (see: https://www.visioncore.be/). With the aforementioned research approaches we are generating big and complex data, including large omics datasets and spatiotemporal imaging data. To create and apply computational methods for the integrative analysis of complex biological processes in high-dimensional and multi-modal data sets and mine the data to the maximum, we are looking for a bioinformatics expert, willing the work at KU Leuven, one of Europe’s most innovative universities located in a vibrant and young student town in Belgium.

Responsibilities

  • You will have the opportunity to shape and lead a multidisciplinary research line focusing on the detailed characterization of the phenotypic changes of retinal cells during aging and upon injury in the mouse and fish retina, using bioinformatic analyses of large datasets generated by single-cell and bulk RNA sequencing and/or proteomics and advanced imaging.
  • You will guide students (undergraduate and graduate level) and contribute to writing papers, grant proposals and reports. You will report on your research at national and international meetings. You will contribute to the organization of local and international conferences.

Profile

As an ideal applicant for this position,

  • You have a PhD degree, a strong theoretical and practical experience in bioinformatics/data science with a proven and successful track record, preferably in the analysis of omics data and/or advanced (high-throughput) image analysis.
  • You are passionate and motivated to work on ambitious projects in an open, dynamic and scientifically advanced team and not afraid to pioneer or set up novel technologies.
  • You can organise and troubleshoot practical work independently, document it and communicate results and experiences with the team in a collaborative and professional manner.
  • You have good knowledge of the English language, both spoken and written.
  • You have a strong interest in neurobiology – ophthalmology.  
  • Hands-on experience with omics analyses and expertise in bioinformatics or statistical modeling is required.
  • Basic knowledge of molecular biology is an asset.
  • Hands-on experience with 2-photon imaging and advanced image analysis is an asset.

Offer

We offer:
  • An exciting working environment where quality, professionalism and human contacts are paramount.
  • The opportunity to be part of a dynamic team and provide a meaningful contribution to the identification of molecular targets to enhance regenerative growth and reconnection, applicable to neurodegenerative diseases and promoting neural repair.

Financing is available, but a later application for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowship, Belgian FWO post-doctoral fellowship or equivalent, is preferred.

Interested?

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Lieve Moons, tel.: +32 16 32 39 91, mail: lieve.moons@kuleuven.be or dr. Lies De Groef, tel.: +32 16 37 37 64, mail: lies.degroef@kuleuven.be.

Applicants should submit a detailed Curriculum Vitae, a concise letter of motivation and two reference letters to their online application.

You can apply for this job no later than May 10, 2021 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: May 10, 2021
  • Tags: Biologie


In your application, please refer to Professorpositions.com

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