Marie Curie PhD position in Biochemistry/molecular biology (DC1)

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 11 Dec 2022

We have a vacancy for a doctoral candidate under the NAD+ International-Scientist training (NADIS) programme, in the Marie Curie Doctoral Network project “Novel NAD+ quantification approaches and applications in preclinical and clinical settings”. The project will be mainly developed at the Laboratory Genetic Metabolic Diseases (Amsterdam UMC, Location AMC, the Netherlands), and through secondments at the University of Oulou (Finland) and at one of our industrial partners, Khondrion B.V. (the Netherlands).

What will you do?

DC1: Novel NAD+ quantification approaches and applications in preclinical and clinical settings

Hosts: Prof. Dr. Riekelt Houtkooper, Dr. Georges Janssens

Duration: 48 months

Project description: Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is a central redox cofactor and substrate of key metabolic enzymes that regulate a constellation of cellular functions. NAD+ availability is critical for cell survival, and its depletion is a leading factor in a number of age-related diseases. Actually, NAD+ depletion is currently considered as one of the major hallmarks of aging. In contrast, interventions able to replenish NAD+ storages can be applied to prevent or cure such diseases.

This project has three aims: (1) to develop and validate a novel small-volume sample collection method for thigh throughput NAD+ metabolomics; (2) to determine how physical and nutritional interventions influence NAD+ levels in frail elderly; and (3) to assess how individual NAD+ variation relates to the efficacy of interventions.

Your main tasks and responsibilities in this project are:

- To apply state-of-the-art metabolomics techniques to determine the NAD+ metabolome in tissue samples

- To apply bioinformatics and statistical analyses to reach conclusions on how different interventions affect the NAD+ metabolome.

- To participate in experimental design and draw conclusions from the results.

- To actively communicate and disseminate the results of the research.

 What do we expect

We seek a highly motivated scientist who is looking forward to working in an ambitious team. The ideal candidate is willing to share ideas and results in a highly collaborative environment, and has a positive attitude towards possible difficulties that may arise during the development of the project. This vacancy requires command of both oral and written English. Excellent communication and organization skills as well as the ability to work within a dynamic group are essential. The project will involve large and diverse metabolomics datasets and a background in bioinformatics, or a desire to learn, is essential. The research project should result in a PhD thesis.

 To be eligible for this position, the applicant must satisfy the following requirements conform the Marie Curie admission requirements:

- Must not already hold a doctoral degree;

- Must comply with the mobility rule: not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the three years immediately prior to their recruitment.

 In addition, you meet the following requirements and experience:

- You have a Masters degree in a field such as biomedical sciences, bioinformatics, biotechnology, molecular biology, biology, or equivalent.

- You can fluently speak and write in English.

 The skills and competences listed below will also be valued:

- Communication skills

- Collaboration/Team work

- Goal-oriented

The following experience and skills would be helpful, but not essential:

- Bioinformatics

- Mass spectrometry

- Metabolomics

- Aging

- NAD+ biology

What we offer

This PhD position is funded by the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) of the European Union’s Europe 2022 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 101073251. You will be appointed as fulltime (36h/week) PhD for 4 years at Amsterdam UMC, Location AMC. The NADIS project is committed to a policy that supports diversity and inclusion, and thus the selection process will have this into account.

 Doctoral candidates within NADIS will receive an attractive base-salary in accordance with the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions. The exact (net) salary for each of the doctoral candidates in NADIS depends on the EU-defined country correction factor, and on local tax regulations (for additional information see EU MSCA website). Exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment.

For the doctoral candidates at Amsterdam UMC, the salary and secondary conditions will be in accordance with the collective agreement for university medical centers (CAOUMC).

 Next to your local PhD training, you will participate in an attractive educational program customized to the NADIS doctoral candidates. The training program consists of a series of network-wide training events and conferences that will expand the candidate’s knowledge in metabolism, omics and bioinformatics, in vitro and in vivo models of diseases, and clinical applications of NAD+ interventions. Moreover, the training program is completed with a series of transferable skills courses that will cover aspects such as leadership, patenting and commercialization, or research communication, among others. This will help you to optimally develop your academic and transferable skills, preparing you for a wide range of career opportunities either in the academic or industrial sector.

If you don’t have the nationality of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you will need a residence permit to live and work in the Netherlands.

The NADIS project

The main goal of the NADIS consortium is to train the next generation of metabolic researchers, providing them with in-depth knowledge and cross-disciplinary expertise to combat disease. The research projects will specifically focus on the metabolism of NAD+, a central redox cofactor and enzymatic substrate that plays an essential role in virtually all major cellular functions. The limited knowledge on the interplay between NAD+ and the cellular processes in which it is involved, especially those that lead to disease, requires novel experimental and analytical tools combined with a strong interaction between scientists and clinical staff coming from different disciplines. We aim to fill these gaps by training ten highly-skilled doctoral candidates. To do this, we bring together our expertise in molecular and cellular biology, bioinformatics and Artificial Intelligence (AI), omics, drug development and nutritional/clinical applications. Our non-academic beneficiaries are focused on the development of nutrition products, medical foods and drug development for new therapies. We will also provide doctoral candidates with transferable and networking skills, and first-hand experience of industrial applications, enabling them to become future leading scientists at the forefront of metabolic research and, specifically, NAD+ research in Europe.

 Your working environment

The Academic Medical Centre Amsterdam (AMC) is one of two Amsterdam UMC locations and one of the foremost research institutions on the Netherlands, as well as one of its largest hospitals. Over 7000 people work here to provide integrated patient care, fundamental and clinical scientific research, and teaching.

At AMC, you will be part of the Translational Metabolism group at the Laboratory Genetic Metabolic Diseases (Lab GMD) of the Amsterdam UMC (Location AMC). This multidisciplinar group, led by Prof. Dr. Riekelt Houtkooper is composed by 15 researchers including postdocs, other PhD students and technicians, whose research is focused on several topics, among them, the molecular regulation of metabolic diseases and how disturbances in metabolic pathways can be targeted as a therapy for such diseases. As the name of the group already suggests, the goal of our research is to translate our findings into future therapies to prevent or cure disease.

This project will be a collaborative effort between AMC and two partners of the NADIS network. Through secondments, the candidate will perform two stays of two months each; one at the University of Oulu (Finland) under the supervision or Dr. Eija Pirinen, and another at an industrial partner, Khondrion B.V. (the Netherlands), under the supervision of Dr. Herma Renkema.

Amsterdam University Medical Centers

The Amsterdam UMC is the largest hospital and foremost medical research institution in the Netherlands with over 13,000 employees, combining what were previously the Academic Medical Center and Vrije Universiteit Medical Center. The location of Amsterdam UMC at Meibergdreef is part of the University of Amsterdam. Some 2500 staff members are fully or partially employed in medical research. Amsterdam Gastroenterology Endocrinology Metabolism (AGEM) is one of the 8 research institutes of Amsterdam UMC that conducts world-class research and aims to improve gastrointestinal, endocrine and metabolic health and reduce the burden of major illnesses that affect our society (see here for more info:… ). Amsterdam UMC houses high quality core facilities including the Core Facility Genomics, Biobank, CRISPR Expertise Center, Functional Genomics Screening, Metabolomics, Lipidomics, Microscopy and cytometry, OncoProteomics, Research Imaging Core Center and animal house.

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