Post-Doctoral Researcher – Metabolic flux analysis for clinical research and diagnostics

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: Permanent

80%-100%, Zurich, fixed-term

The Institute of Molecular Systems Biology at ETH Zurich is inviting applications for a Postdoctoral position in the group of Professor Dr Nicola Zamboni .

Project background

The group of Prof. Zamboni has a long history in the development and use of tracing experiments for the analysis of cellular metabolism. The approach relies on the supplementation of isotopically labelled metabolites. These include stable isotopes (e.g. 13C, 2H), whose structure gets scrambled under the action of metabolism. If appropriately designed, the resulting labelling patterns indicate the activity of intracellular metabolic pathways and reactions. Quantitative information about fluxes is obtained by measuring the labelling patterns by mass spectrometry and by mathematical inference with a model that accounts for all possible atomic transitions. However, to date, the adoption of tracer studies by non-expert groups is hindered by the often prohibitive need for expertise and technical means.

The Zamboni lab is aiming at simplifying tracer studies for clinical applications. While most elements of the workflow have been established over the past decade, the challenge is to assemble all pieces in an integrated and automatised workflow to support routine measurement by non-expert users. The project demands the integration of experimental and computational developments. This position tackles practical aspects such as assembling a kit for the ex-vivo analysis of cellular metabolism by parallel isotopic tracing, analysis of traced cells by LC-MS, assisting clinical partners with labelling experiments, etc. The project builds on a tight collaboration with oncologists at the University Children’s Hospital Zürich and will target pediatric leukaemia as proof of principle. A substantial fraction of the time will be spent in the clinics. The initial appointment is for two years.

Job description

You will lead the kitting process. Furthermore, you will plan and perform labelling studies with cancer cell lines and patient-derived cells. Performing the LC-MS analyses of labelled samples and cooperating with computational colleagues on the development of user-friendly software will be also a duty of your position. You will act as the primary contact point with clinical collaborators. The task includes coordinating experiments, performing labelling studies, identifying bottlenecks or needs, developing solutions, and outlining strategies for possibly impactful proof-of-principles. You also foster open communication with team members, stakeholders, and potential users.

Your profile
  • Doctoral degree in biology, biotechnology, or medicine.
  • Sound knowledge of cellular metabolism, its regulation, and the aberrant characteristics of tumours.
  • Experience with the metabolic tracing of cancer cell lines incl. tracer selection, MS analysis, and interpretation of data. 
  • Passion for metabolism, ambition to impact clinical practice, and entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Interest in working both in an academic and clinical setting.
  • Proactive attitude and excellent communication skills.

Your workplace

Your workplace

We offer

ETH Zurich is a family-friendly employer with excellent working conditions. You can look forward to an exciting working environment, cultural diversity and attractive offers and benefits.

chevron_right Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich
We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our

Equal Opportunities and Diversity website

to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • CV
  • A motivation letter stating own visions and specifying any past experience that is aligned with the job profile.
  • Name and contacts of two referees

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology can be found on our website . Questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr Nicola Zamboni, email (no applications).

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

View or Apply

Similar Positions