PhD Complex genetics and microglia function in Alzheimer’s disease

Updated: 6 days ago

Department: Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Regime Full-time

PhD position:

Complex genetics and microglia function in Alzheimer’s disease

About the labs

The Sleegers lab (Complex Genetics of Alzheimer’s Disease) and the Mancuso lab (Microglia and Inflammation in Neurological Disorders, MIND) at the VIB-UAntwerp Center for Molecular Neurology , Belgium, are seeking a highly motivated PhD student to work on a project on genetic and human microglia function in Alzheimer’s disease.

About the project

Microglia and neuroinflammation play a central role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. Whereas human genetics highlight microglia as main player, the actual mechanisms by which risk variants translate into aberrant microglia function in humans remain poorly understood. This project will start from a deep genomic investigation of Alzheimer risk loci to prioritize variants of interest, and use mouse models, multi-omics approaches, iPSC, CRISPR and cutting-edge humanized mouse systems to unravel how these variants affect microglia biology and contribute to the initiation and perpetuation of Alzheimer’s disease.

Your job

This is a project at the interface of two labs: the Mancuso lab, working on human and mouse microglia biology in brain disorders, and the Sleegers lab working on complex Alzheimer’s disease genetics. In this project, you will make use of innovative genetic and transcriptomic approaches, genome engineering, CRISPR and viral vector technology, iPSC and humanized mouse technology to unravel the link between genetic risk and microglia function in Alzheimer’s disease. The successful applicant will work in both labs.

Selected references:

  • Mancuso et al. Nat Neurosci (2019). 22:2111-2116
  • Fattorelli, Martinez Muriana et al. Nat Protocols (2020), in press
  • Cuyvers et al. Lancet Neurology (2015) 14(8):814-822
  • De Roeck et al. Acta Neuropathologica (2018). 135(6):827-837
  • Bellenguez et al. MedRxiv 2020.10.01.20200659


We are seeking a highly motivated, enthusiastic, critical and creative individual to join our teams. The candidate should have a strong interest in neurobiology and wet lab or dry lab experience would be an advantage.

The position is open for candidates that have:

  • Masters in neuroscience (molecular, cellular, developmental, systems) or related disciplines.
  • Proficient in verbal and written English.
  • Knowledge in bioinformatics or experience with iPSC cultures would be an advantage.
  • Ability to summarize data extracted from literature and to define research objectives.
  • Passion for science, self-motivation, flexibility and team spirit.

 Desirable but not required:

  • Prior experience with mouse neurobiology and molecular biology
  • Prior experience with genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics or bioinformatics
  • Prior experience with iPSC biology
  • Prior experience with microglia biology

We offer

  • A versatile and challenging job in a vibrant world-class research environment operating at an international level
  • State of the art research facilities
  • A dedicated training program to broaden your expertise and enhance your skill set
  • Financial support for at least 2 years. The successful candidate is encouraged to obtain a personal fellowship (e.g FWO)
  • Starting Date: as soon as possible

Want to apply?

  • You can apply for this vacancy through the University of Antwerp’s online job application platform. Click on the 'Apply' button, complete the online application form and be sure to include the following attachments: include a motivation letter, a detailed CV incl. list of publications, and the contact information of three referees.
  • The selection committee will review all the applications as soon as possible after the application deadline. As soon as a decision has been made, we will inform you about the next steps in the selection procedure.
  • If you have any questions about the online application form, please check the frequently asked questions or send an email to . If you have any questions about the job itself, please contact and    

The University of Antwerp received the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award for its HR policy. We are a sustainable, family-friendly organization which invests in its employees’ growth. We encourage diversity  and attach great importance to an inclusive working environment and equal opportunities, regardless of gender identity, disability, race, ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age. We encourage people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse characteristics to apply.

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