In the interdisciplinary project entitled ‘IMAGIBRAINDD: IMAGIng-assisted human BRAIn organoid engineering for studying and treating NeuroDevelopmental Disorders (NDDs)’, Prof. Vergult and Prof. Dmitriev will put their expertise together to set up brain organoid research at Ghent University.
In this project, we propose an innovative pipeline to study NDDs using human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived brain organoids with dedicated high-resolution multi-parameter live microscopy imaging and (single cell) multi-omics technologies. Using genetic manipulation of iPSCs, we will produce 3D brain ‘organoids’ with aberrations in NDD genes, providing us with important information on disease development at early stages. These organoids will be subjected to state-of-the-art analysis with chemical and nanosensors measuring live tissue oxygenation, cell metabolism, proliferation and Ca2+ dynamics in a non-destructive way, compatible with downstream multi-omcis, electrode-based and other analyses. Our project will help to unravel the etiology of specific NDD syndromes and will lead to a better understanding of human brain development.
The PhD student will be engaged in setting up brain organoids for specific NDDs, generating and integrating (single cell) omics data of these models as well as establishing fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) approaches to perform non-destructive monitoring of neuronal function within live organoids.
We are looking for a talented and strongly motivated PhD student to join our enthusiastic and young interdisciplinary teams of Prof. Vergult and Prof. Dmitriev. We provide an open and stimulating working environment, in which teamwork, initiative, a critical mindset and originality are highly appreciated.
We offer a four year position, but will also request to participate in obtaining external funding (e.g. by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO)).
For more information about both research groups:
- You obtained a Master of Science in Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Biomedical Sciences, Bioscience Engineering, Bioinformatics or equivalent awarded by the competent institutions in one of the countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland not more than two years ago. (The certificate may have been awarded outside the EEA and Switzerland, but you need to be eligible for external funding by the FWO: https://www.fwo.be/en/fellowships-funding/phd-fellowships/phd-fellowship-fundamental-research/)
- You have a strong interest in (3D) cell culture, microscopy, biosensors, genetics and molecular biology. Prior experience with (iPSC) tissue culture, organoids and/or microscopy is considered an advantage.
- You have (basic) bio-informatics skills or are willing to learn. Prior experience with next generation sequencing and data-analysis is considered an advantage.
- You are an accurate and precise worker and possess strong analytical problem-solving skills (creative, critical, thinking out-of-the-box).
- You can work independently, yet you are also a team player.
- Candidates must have excellent written and oral communication skills in English.
- You are expected to get involved in supervision of master students, organising conferences and minor teaching activities
How to apply
Applications including a CV, motivation letter (max. 1 page), grades, ranking and the email addresses of two potential referees should be sent electronically to Prof. Sarah Vergult (email@example.com) and Prof. Ruslan Dmitriev (firstname.lastname@example.org) by September 10, the latest.
Top-ranked candidates will be invited for an interview (either on-site or via Teams). Starting date will be determined in agreement with the candidate.
Medical Research Building (MRB1), Entrance 34
Center for Medical Genetics Ghent (CMGG)
Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials Lab
Building B3, Entrance 46, 4th floor
Ghent University Hospital
Corneel Heymanslaan 10
B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
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