PhD position: Transcriptional regulation and functional validation of endo-lysos

Department

extern: niet UMCG vacature

Working Enviroment

Metabolic mouse models of diet-induced obesity have indicated a regulatory role for glucose and lipid metabolism on the dynamics of endo-lysosomal processes at a transcriptional and post-transcriptional level. This work package will identify which endo-lysosomal processes are shaped by metabolic changes (fasting/feeding), aging, disease conditions of the metabolic syndrome, including NAFLD/NASH and cholesterol storage disorders.

PhD student 9 - Transcriptional regulation and functional validation of endo-lysosomal genes in metabolic diseases
Host organisation: Nebion, Zurich, CH (contact: Philip Zimmermann, phz@nebion.com) and Helmholtz Center Munich (contact: Anja Zeigerer, anja.zeigerer@helmholtz-muenchen.de).
You are employed at Nebion and the research is done at Nebion and Helmholtz Munich. You will receive your degree through Helmholtz Munich and the Technical University Munich.

The PhD student will scout and curate public transcriptomic datasets of healthy, diseased and patient samples and mouse models of NAFLD/NASH with focus on liver tissue. The student will be involved in the integration of the datasets and meta-analysis to gather insights for follow-up experimental planning with emphasis on endo- lysosomal processes. Perturbation analysis will be performed to formulate the potential role of top candidates in metabolic disease. After prioritization, several candidates will be further studied in cellular and mouse models to elucidate their function in metabolic control.

Job description

Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a collection of pathological conditions that include abdominal obesity, increased blood pressure, insulin resistance and increased blood glucose and lipids. MetS is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes (T2D), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Combined, these cardio-metabolic diseases form a heavy burden on our society and health care system. Clearly, increasing our knowledge on the molecular mechanisms contributing to the maintenance of metabolic homeostasis will provide tools to improve prognosis, diagnosis and ultimately treatment of patients with cardio-metabolic diseases.

EndoConnect partners have recently demonstrated that endo-lysosomal processes crucially control metabolic pathways in various tissues (e.g. liver and adipose tissue). Reciprocally, it has also been shown that metabolic changes can in turn shape the dynamics of the endo-lysosomal network, implying that endo-lysosomal processes and metabolism are strongly interconnected to maintain metabolic homeostasis. Despite the recent technological advances, there are still major gaps in our basic knowledge about how these vital processes are molecularly connected, and importantly, how this knowledge can be translated into clinical-grade products and can improve healthcare.

It is the ambition of EndoConnect to fill these knowledge gaps by training talented PhD students on how to use both cellular and in vivo models to study endo-lysosomal processes and metabolism at different levels, to provide them with an interdisciplinary and intersectoral training programme to use, implement and develop state-of-the-art technologies to connect basic molecular and cell biology research with metabolism, physiology and biomedical research. EndoConnect will accomplish this by bringing different research disciplines together to investigate the interrelationship between endo-lysosomal processes and (patho)physiology, with the focus on the role of endo-lysosomal processes in metabolism and cardio-metabolic diseases, such as Type 2 Diabetes, NAFLD and Cardiovascular Disease.

As a PhD student in EndoConnect you will be part of an international team of young researchers. You will have your individual research project at your host organisation, focusing on your discipline of interest. To broaden your specialized training, you will undertake internships at complementary EndoConnect partner organization. In addition, you will follow advanced interdisciplinary courses by leaders in the field of molecular and cell biology, metabolism, physiology and biomedical research. Thus, you will be trained to become one of the future leaders in this emerging interdisciplinary field.

Are you interested? Please, check the PhD position available with Nebion and Helmholtz Munich!

Requirements

Eligible candidates for a PhD position in the EndoConnect training network should have the following qualifications:
- A(n) (almost) completed master’s degree in a discipline relevant to the PhD position(s) for which you apply.
- Strong motivation for scientific research in an interdisciplinary and international environment.
- Excellent English presentation and writing skills.
- Good organizational and communication skills, being a team-player.

Successful candidates must fulfil the criteria defined by the European Commission:
- As an Early Stage Researcher, you have to be in the first four years of your research career and have not been awarded a doctoral degree at the time of recruitment.
- At the time of recruitment by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date.
The recruitment is envisaged for September 2021.

Conditions of employment

Please submit your application including a cover letter, detailed CV, copies of your certificates as well as at least two letters of recommendation preferably per email to:
- Dr. Phillip Zimmermann, E-Mail: phz@nebion.com
and
- Dr. Anja Zeigerer, E-Mail: anja.zeigerer@helmholtz-muenchen.de

Application deadline: 31st of May 2021.

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