Three PhD positions in Materials Chemistry, Peptide Chemistry, and…

Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: 01 Jan 2023

Polytechnic University of Catalonia (https://www.upc.edu/en ), located in Barcelona (Spain), and University of Milan (https://www.unimi.it/en ), located in Milan (Italy), are looking for talented, enthusiastic young scientists who are highly motivated to boost their research career in the areas of nanotechnology, nanoscaffolds and peptide-based nanomaterials.

Motivation

The successful candidates will be part of an emerging project carried out with the funding of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Doctoral Networks HORIZON-MSCA-DN-2021 project called NanoReMedi (Functional Nano-Scaffolds for Regenerative Medicine https://www.nanoremedi.eu/ ). Repair or replacement of tissue and organ functions lost due to age, disease or damage represents one of the most urgent medical needs of our aging society. The NanoReMedi consortium will contribute to addressing this fundamentally important issue by using a new and efficient scientific approach relying on the design, preparation, characterization and validation of conceptually innovative peptide-based functional nanomaterials for regenerative medicine applications.

NanoReMedi stems from six Doctoral Courses/Schools at six beneficiary institutions, providing research and training in the field of nanomaterials for Regenerative Medicine. An active contribution of enterprises in training activities is a relevant feature of the programme. At the end of the project a join doctoral degree will be obtained.

Research / Job description – available positions

  • Position 1 (ESR06 research project) : Key interactions in the self-assembly of peptide nanomaterials: from the molecular conformation to the supramolecular structuration.

The successfully candidate has to hold a computational chemistry profile or similar. The objectives include determination the intrinsic and in solution energy landscape of small peptides using systematic QM-based studies; characterization of nanomaterials (films and particles) using spectroscopic, microscopy and MEMS techniques; Development of models for the formation of peptide aggregates from different experimental conditions using advanced modelling methods; analysis of the role of specific and non-specific intermolecular interactions, as well as determine the presence of cooperative and/or anti-cooperative effects, using QM/MM-MD with multiple active zones.

Secondments: i) nine months at the University of Milan: training in advanced MD methods applied to supramolecular structures; ii) three months of enterprise secondment at Edelweiss Connect to perform in-silico toxicology studies on non-natural AAs/peptides/peptidomimetics relevant for the project.

The PhD will be conducted in the IMEM-BRT research group (https://imem.upc.edu/en ) in Barcelona (Spain).

  • Position 2 (ESR13 research project) : Preparation of electro-responsive peptide carriers for controlled release

The successfully candidate has to hold an experimental chemistry profile or similar. The objectives include development of controlled plasma treatments to transform insulating peptide structures into electro-responsive structures considering different atmospheres, pressures and powers; characterization of the stable species generated by plasma treatment will be performed; re-exploration of the electrospinning conditions forcing the formation of stable charged species at the surface will be carried our if required; characterization of the charged fibers; electrostimulated release of antimicrobials from the previously electro-responsive carriers.

Secondments: i) nine months at the University of Pavia: training and preparation of electrospun fibers and their transformation using plasma; ii) three months of enterprise secondment at Ponti to analyze the results from the innovation point of view at both technical/industrial levels, prospecting the protection through the different available registration modalities: patents, utility models or industrial designs.

The PhD will be conducted in the IMEM-BRT research group (https://imem.upc.edu/en ) in Barcelona (Spain).

  • Position 3 (ESR4 research project) : Preparation and characterization of peptides decorated nanomaterials

The successfully candidate has to hold an experimental chemistry profile or similar. Experience in solid phase peptide synthesis is preferred. The objectives include the development of self-assemble peptide materials containing cell adhesion and differentiation motifs. Their functionalization of polymers will the lead to bioactive hydrogels to be used as scaffold in regenerative medicine.

Secondments: i) nine months at the University of Montpellier: Evaluation of cell viability and 3D printability of the peptide decorated nanomaterials; ii) three months of enterprise secondment at Deloitte to analyze the results from the technology transfer and performance point of view, prospecting the protection through patents

The PhD will be conducted in the APISgroup (https://sites.unimi.it/apisgroup ) in Milan (Italy)

NanoReMedi Consortium

6 Beneficiaries, one Associated Partner linked to a beneficiary and 12 non-academic associated partners will join their forces to: i) create a highly innovative research network for training a new generation of 13 Doctoral Candidates (DCs) with strong employment potential, aimed at studying and developing “Functional Nano-Scaffolds for Regenerative Medicine”

Beneficiaries (Doctorate Courses/Schools): University of Milan (Pharmaceutical Sciences), ITALY – Coordinating University; Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Polymers and Biopolymers) SPAIN; The Hebrew University Jerusalem (School of Chemistry), ISRAEL; Université de Montpellier (Balard Chemical Sciences doctoral school), FRANCE; University of Pavia (Bioengineering, Bioinformatics & Health Technologies), ITALY; IC nanoGUNE (Materials Physics; delivered by University of the Basque Country – Associated Partner linked to NANOGUNE beneficiary), SPAIN.

Associated partners for secondments activities: Bayer Health Care Pharmaceuticals – ITALY; Edelweiss Connect GMBHSWITZERLAND; Italfarmaco S.p.A. (CHEMI) – ITALY; Jacobacci & Partners – ITALY; Lynxter -FRANCE; Simune Atomistics SL – SPAIN; Ponti & Partners, SLPSPAIN; AbMedica – ITALY; DeLama – ITALY; Officine Innovazione Srl (Deloitte) – ITALY; Genepep – FRANCE; BioBasic Europe rsl – ITALY

The scientific approach proposed by NanoReMedi Consortium is strongly multidisciplinary and will involve a number of different state-of-the-art technologies and methodologies. Expected results are:

  • Generate tissue engineered vascular grafts (VGs) to replace damaged peripheral arteries
  • Study stem-cell based regenerative medicine for bone and cartilage repair
  • Overcome implants failure of engineered tissues/scaffolds due to bacterial infections

13 ESR PhD positions were offered by the Consortium related to different and multidisciplinary projects strongly interconnected involving different state-of-the-art technologies and methodologies: Computational chemistry; Chemical synthesis/peptide synthesis; Peptide based Nanomaterials (Soft materials/Hydrogels/Electrospinning) preparation and spectroscopic characterization; Production of vein graph; 3D-tissue fabrication; Biofilm prevention; Electrostimulated release of antimicrobial peptides

Each ESR will attend the following training activities: i) advanced courses and soft and transferable skill courses provided by University’s doctorate courses/schools; ii) multidisciplinary courses/Summer delivered by NanoReMedi Network at the general Network Meetings/; iii) Nine-months secondment at one of the Beneficiary jointly awarding the doctoral degree to improve research methods complementary to those at home institution; iv) Three-months secondment at one of the enterprise where ESRs are expected to acquire complementary skills.

Requirements

Required Education Level 2nd Level Master Degree or Skills/Qualifications 2nd Level Master Degree (120 ECTS + 180 ECTS in a bachelor degree) or a Single Cycle Degree (minimum 300 ECTS), or a comparable university degree (Second Cycle qualification)

Required Languages ENGLISH

  • Position 1 (ESR06) : Desirable some computational experience that includes working a range of biological and/or material simulation methods such as the molecular dynamics or the density functional approach, as well as experience with peptide materials and proteins. Also, some knowledge on scripting and programming is desired, but not mandatory.

Specific Requirements: Master Degree or equivalent in Computational Chemistry/Computational biology/Chemistry/Physics/Biochemistry

  • Position 2 (ESR13) : Desirable synthetic experience that includes working a range of chemical synthesis methods, as well as experience with polymers and peptide materials, including self-assembled polymers. Also, some knowledge on molecular characterization, such as NMR, UV-Vis-NIR, micro-Raman and FTIR, XPS and/or chromatography, as well as materials properties (i.e. rheology, particle sizing – DLS, TEM, SEM and AFM, electrospinning) is desired, but not mandatory.

Specific Requirements: Master Degree or equivalent in Chemistry/Pharmaceutical Chemistry/Biotechnology/Material Sciences

  • Position 3 (ESR4) : Desirable synthetic experience that includes in solution and solid phase peptide synthesis, as well as experience with polymers and peptide materials, including self-assembled polymers. Also, some knowledge on molecular characterization, such as NMR, UV-Vis-NIR, micro-Raman and FTIR, XPS and/or chromatography, as well as materials properties (i.e. rheology, particle sizing – DLS, TEM, SEM and AFM) is desired, but not mandatory.

Specific Requirements: Master Degree or equivalent in Chemistry/Pharmaceutical Chemistry/Biotechnology/Material Sciences

Additional Info

Benefits. Each ESR will receive a 36-month grant to cover his/her participation costs, living, travel and installation allowance, family allowance, as follows:

Living allowance: 3104.20 €/month (UPC) ; https: 3311.60 €/month (UNIMI)

Mobility allowance: 600 €/month.

Family allowance: 495 €/month

The cost of the PhD educational activities, as well as all expenses related to travels performed to attend schools, workshops, and network-organized events, will be planned and sustained by the network through the HORIZONEUROPEMSCA-DOCTORALNETWORK grant (Institutional Costs). The ESR will be provided with office space and all facilities for his/her research programme.

Eligibility criteria

There are strict eligibility requirements for the ESR positions in MSCA-DN. Please ensure to be qualified before applying, as ineligible candidates cannot be considered.

Admission to the programme is open to applicants who hold a 2nd Level Master Degree (120 ECTS + 180 ECTS in a bachelor degree) or a Single Cycle Degree (minimum 300 ECTS), or a comparable university degree (Second Cycle qualification), as required by the partner universities for admission to doctoral studies. Applicants are expected to achieve their degree within January 31st , 2023. They shall submit a certified copy of any degree achieved by the deadline of March 31st , 2023.

Applicants are required to be proficient in the English language (at least B2 level).

Applicants should – at the time of recruitment – be in the first four years (full time equivalent research experience) of their research careers not yet have been awarded a doctorate. They must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organization (Spain) for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before their recruitment date. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.

The Recruitment board will pay special attention to respect gender balance.

Selection process

The ESR will be selected on the basis of the following criteria (in random order):

  • Scientific skills and research experience;
  • Ability to collaborate and communicate;
  • Career profile and potential for excellence;
  • Expected impact of the proposed training on their career;
  • Research project.

Additional comments

Applications must be submitted on https://www.nanoremedi.eu/submit-application/ from November 28th, 2022 at 17:00 central European time (http://www.timeanddate.com/time/zones/cet ) to December 31st 2022 at 17:00 central European time.

Applicants are required to submit the following documents by uploading them as a PDF file along with (or as one PDF attachment to) the application form. Instructions on submission are provided on https://www.nanoremedi.eu/download-documents/ . For more information you may also contact nanoremedi@nanoremedi.eu

Hand written applications and applications sent by email, post or fax will not be accepted.


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