PhD position - Resolving diagnostic deadlocks in Systemic Inflammatory Autoimmune Diseases

Updated: 21 days ago
Job Type: Permanent

In der aktuellen Covid-19 Situation laufen die Rekrutierungen weiter. Es kann dabei allerdings zu Verzögerungen kommen. Vielen Dank für Ihr Verständnis.

100%, Zurich, fixed-term

The Laboratory for Functional Immune Repertoire Analysis (Prof. Klaus Eyer) focuses on developing and applying technologies and analytical strategies that allow us to measure, describe and exploit functionality within the immune system. To study novel and unique research questions, we resolve these complex responses down to the individual, primary cell and focus on the direct and quantitative measurement of functionality. Our research currently centers around various fundamental and applied scientific questions for vaccine-mediated protection and personalized medicine. In our approach, we combine chemical, physical, and biological aspects to achieve our aims. The group is affiliated with the Department 'Chemistry and Applied Biosciences', the doctoral school 'Immunology and Microbiology' and our laboratories are located on the Hönggerberg Campus in Zürich (Switzerland).

Project background

Systemic autoinflammatory diseases (SAIDs) are a set of rare clinically and genetically heterogeneous conditions. SAIDs are characterized by long dormant periods with no or only minor clinical symptoms interrupted by febrile crises accompanied by inflammation that spontaneously resolve. These potentially life-threatening inflammatory flares are due to the dysregulation of innate immune responses. Over the last decades, more than 50 genes encoding key components of the innate immune system have been described to be involved in the pathophysiology of SAIDs. However, despite considerable scientific advances, almost 70% of diagnoses remain exceptionally challenging because of the absence of objective diagnostic criteria, and the diagnosis is usually only established with significant delay. However, a timely and correct diagnosis is crucial to avoid unnecessary invasive investigations and inadequate treatment decisions in these chronic and sometimes life-threatening conditions.

Job description

We offer a funded PhD position that is part of the ETH strategic focus area 'Personalized Helath and Related Technologies'. The project aims at the adaptation of existing droplet-based microfluidic technology to overcome the diagnostic deadlocks in SAIDs. To do so, we propose to study specific functions of innate immune cells and to study these functionalities with single-cell resolution in various controls as well as patient samples. To achieve the goals and facilitate translation of the methods, we have set up a research collaboration with Dr. Irina Giurgea (Sorbonne University research unit and molecular diagnostics lab), an internationally recognized expert in the molecular and cellular biology of SAIDs.

Your profile

The interdisciplinary aspect is central in our group and for this collaborative project. You should have a strong disposition to learn and improve novel methods, and should be open to work in different research environments. Expertise in standard methods of molecular biology is preferable (e.g., immunoassays, flow cytometry, or similar), prior experience with optical methods and microfluidics is helpful. We are looking for an ambitious team player.

We offer you an intellectually challenging position in the inspiring atmosphere of our team. Advanced training in different related fields and participation at international conferences is highly encouraged, and excellent research equipment is present in the lab and throughout ETH Zurich to support this project. You must be able to fluently communicate in English (oral and written), must be a good team player and be willing to work in a highly interactive, interdisciplinary and international team. A professional work attitude, and a proactive and self-driven work ethic are expected.

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

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