PhD project: ‘Identifying molecular keystones in neurodegenerative brain disease networks’
The Translational Neurobiology Group of the VIB Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Antwerp is looking for a PhD student:
Neurodegenerative brain diseases, such as like Alzheimer’s disease (AD), frontal temporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD) are age-related disorders that due to our increasingly elderly population are becoming more prevalent each year. In the absence of a cure or preventive strategy, the number of dementia patients worldwide is projected to reach over 100 million in 2050.
The VIB-Department of Molecular Genetics has generated considerable insight into the genomic basis of these disorders. The next logical step forward in this research is to try and understand how these genomic alterations then actually generate the disease pathophysiological phenotype. Recent research has demonstrated that the phenotypic generation of the disease requires a molecular ‘translation’ through a network of facilitating genes/proteins, i.e. the disease ‘signature’. This translating network therefore represents two important topics for neurobiological research, i) discovery of the crucial network nodes of genes/proteins that propagate and maintain the pathophysiology and, ii) generation of ‘network’ therapeutic targets whose modulation may exert an amplified and reinforced therapeutic action. The components (genes/proteins) of the molecular disease signature therefore should comprise a minimal, but comprehensive, condensation of the disease process at a level that both facilitates a thorough appreciation of the disease but also provides a tractable framework for therapeutic development.
Therapeutic intervention at the level of the molecular signature will likely engage multiple endogenous signaling systems that will likely synergize to reinforce the potential therapeutic effects of the remedial agent. Until now, pharmacotherapeutics have been devised often with just single molecular targets in mind and have unfortunately often proven ineffective for a wide range of patients, especially for complex disorders such as AD. Hence, rather than considering disease as the perturbation of a single gene/protein factor, the appreciation of disease as the deformation of a complex network of factors in the disease signature would suggest that the most efficacious treatments would restore the balance of as many components of the deformed signature to achieve its therapeutic effects. Our primary goal therefore is to determine which factors control these networks, the molecular ‘keystones’, and then target these with experimental therapeutics.
Nr of positions available : 1
Neurosciences - Neurobiology
Early stage researcher or 0-4 yrs (Post graduate)
First Stage Researcher (R1)
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If you are interested in this position, mail a letter of interest, curriculum vitae (including a list of publications) and the names of 2-3 reference persons to firstname.lastname@example.org mentioning ‘TN group’.
|• Motivated students of all nationalities with a strong commitment to basic and/or clinical research.
• Holder of a MSc in medical or biomedical sciences, biochemistry, biotechnology or biology.
• Fluent in English (spoken and written language).
• Any experience in genetics, genomics or molecular cell biology is an advantage.
• The candidate should have well-developed social skills directed to working in a team.
To better plan and organise their stay in a foreign European country, researchers and their families can also benefit of the free and personalised assistance offered by the EURAXESS Services Centres, a network of more than 200 centres located in 40 different European countries.
University of Antwerp
Universiteit Antwerpen, Campus Middelheim, Departement Personeel, Middelheimlaan 1
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