PHD POSITION ON “COMBINATORIAL, HIGH-THROUGHPUT ORGANOID SCREENS FOR PERSONALIZED MEDICINE”

14 October 2021

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Interested?

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Xevi Casadevall i Solvas, tel.: +32 16 37 71 03, mail: xevi.casadevall@kuleuven.be.You can apply for this job no later than December 15, 2021 via the online application tool

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

(ref. BAP-2021-746)

Apply before 15 December 2021

The Division of Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors (MeBioS) performs groundbreaking research on innovative sensor technologies and the associated data analysis methods to understand and control the quality of products and ongoing processes.

Responsibilities

Recent years have seen a surge in the development of microfluidic platforms for a wide diversity of applications, from diagnostics to new fundamental science studies. Microdroplet-based platforms (a particular branch of microfluidics capable of generating and manipulating identical, fL to nL-sized droplets at kHz rates) has spearheaded several revolutionary High-Throughput Screening (HTS) assays, notably for applications in single cell omics. Yet, other promising HTS applications of droplet-based microfluidics (such as drug screening) remain largely untapped due to the impossibility of current droplet generation strategies to handle drug libraries in a combinatorial manner.

The first phase of this project aims to develop a strategy to solve the aforementioned limitation of droplet-based technology by developing a hybrid microfluidic-liquid handling platform with the capacity of generating large droplet libraries with distinct chemical payloads. Your tasks will involve:

  • Designing, manufacturing and testing of novel microfluidic devices capable of rapid and multiplexed droplet formation.
  • Testing and applying amelioration strategies for stable long-term droplet storage and prevention of payload leakage/droplet cross-talk.
  • Setting up and operation of droplet screening systems and lab automation devices (e.g. liquid handling systems).

In the second phase of this project you will adapt this platform to enable the production of/experimentation with patient-derived organoids, with the aim of screening and selecting optimal combinatorial treatments for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients not eligible for registered modulator treatments (which currently comprise 10% of the ofthe total population of CF patients)

Profile

Are you an energetic person, able to both think critically and creatively in scientific terms while also being effective at overcoming technical challenges? Are you keen on working at the crossroads of several disciplines (from engineering to biomedicine)? Then you may be the perfect scientist to join our team.

The ideal candidate will already possess several od the following skills:

  • Expert knowledge of microfluidic technologies, ideally with a strong focus on droplet-based techniques.
  • Robust experience in spectroscopic techniques (specially fluorescence strategies for multicolor imaging).
  • Applied knowledge of molecular cell biology techniques.
  • Experience in developing automated control systems and programming (in either Matlab, Python or C++).

Important: preference will be given to PhD candidates who hold an MS degree from an European institution or that can obtain a "recognition of foreign qualification" from NARIC (https://www.naricvlaanderen.be/en/naric-vlaanderen)

Offer
  • We offer a full-time PhD position for 1 year. After positive evaluation, the contract can be extended to 3 additional years (4 years in total).
  • State of the art research infrastructure.
  • A challenging job in a young, dynamic environment.
  • High level scientific training at a top-ranked university.
  • Excellent guidance by our young, dynamic and multidisciplinary team.
  • Being part of a world-class research group.
  • Remuneration according to the KU Leuven salary scales (https://www.kuleuven.be/personeel/jobsite/en/phd).