PhD Candidate for Unravelling Cellular Glycosylation Mechanisms

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 30 Sep 2021

The process of protein glycosylation regulates many biochemical properties and molecular functions, but these versatile biomolecules are currently not well understood. As a PhD Candidate, you will unravel the mechanisms behind protein glycosylation in the cell. You will ultimately contribute to understanding the role of glycosylation in serious diseases like cancer, inflammation or autoimmunity disorders.

Sugar molecules such as glucose not only provide the energy that virtually drives all biological processes, they are also essential molecular building blocks used by all living cells for the glycosylation of proteins and lipids. During glycosylation, about 200 glycosyltransferase enzymes assemble different sugar building blocks into structures called glycans that display a staggering structural diversity. Glycans are attached to glycoproteins and glycolipids and regulate many of their biochemical properties and molecular functions, thereby contributing to proper functioning of the cell. On the other hand, deregulation of glycosylation is associated with every major disease. Despite the importance of these versatile biomolecules, many aspects of how protein glycosylation is orchestrated inside the cell are not well understood.

The Biomolecular Chemistry Department is looking for a PhD candidate to unravel mechanisms of protein glycosylation in the cell. As a PhD candidate, you will work on new approaches to probe glycosylation in human cells at the Golgi system and protein level. This includes the development of tools that enable visualization of specific glycosylation steps and analysis of distinct glycoprotein products using molecular biology and biochemistry techniques. These tools will be validated and applied in human cells, including 2D cell cultures and adult stem cell-derived organoids, with genetically engineered glycosylation machineries. Ultimately, these tools will be used to investigate how pathological processes in cancer, inflammation or autoimmunity deregulate protein glycosylation and vice versa how dysregulated protein glycosylation contributes to pathological processes. This research will advance our understanding of the role of glycosylation in these serious diseases and could open up novel therapeutic avenues.

Your education task may be up to 10% of your appointment.

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