PhD position in Protein Aggregation in Neurodegeneration

Leuven VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research

02 Nov 2020

Leuven

VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research

Frederic Rousseau and Joost Schymkowitz Lab

PhD

1

Jointly appointed at VIB Switch Laboratory and Laboratory for Neuropathology
UZ and KU Leuven

About the lab

The SWITCH Laboratory, part of the KUL Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research, is one of the leading laboratories in human disease-related protein aggregation. It is an interdisciplinary workplace, bringing together about twenty researchers from different backgrounds, such as bioinformatics, biophysics and cell biology. SWITCH has a unique platform of technologies for studying protein aggregation, including biophysical, ultrastructural and cell biological instrumentations. For a primer on who we are, what we do and our latest publications, see http://www.switchlab.org/

About the lab for Neuropathology

The Neuropathology Laboratory is part of Department of Imaging & Pathology and one of the leading laboratories studying the neuropathology of Alzheimer’s disease and associated neurodegenerative diseases. The lab works together with other KU Leuven research groups, VIB and external partners. The group in constantly growing and brings together Postdocs, PhD students, Master students and Lab technicians.

Project

The project investigates the role of tau aggregates in neurodegeneration and is part of a wider project that focusses on the discovery of novel monoclonal antibodies that can neutralize tau toxicity and spreading. Tau is the main component of the neurofibrillary tangles that are a hallmark of AD along with Alzheimer beta plaques, and a paradigm of intracellular aggregation. In the etiology of AD, the Abeta aggregation and the abnormal phosphorylation and aggregation of tau aggregation increase in parallel, but the loss of neurons is mainly associated with tau aggregation. In addition, tau aggregation is also associated with more than 20 other, very heterologous pathologies, called tauopathies, including Pick’s disease, progressive supranuclear palsy and corticobasal degeneration. Tauopathies are differentiated by aggregation of distinct Tau isoforms in pathognomonic brain regions and the absence of significant amounts of Aβ plaques.

You will learn to produce tau aggregates recombinantly, as well as isolate them directly from the brains of animal models as well as human donors. You will study the seeding capacity of tau aggregates in vitro, in cells and in animal models, and you will use these assays as well as human brain tissue sections to test novel antibodies and other components that may reduce the spreading and toxicity of tau aggregates.

Profile

  • You hold a M.Sc. or M.D. degree, with minimally distinction grades or higher.
  • You meet the English language criteria of KU Leuven
  • You have a strong interest in protein aggregation and neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Highly motivated, enthusiastic, critical and creative
  • The ability to work in a multidisciplinary team is a must
  • Prior experience with high content analysis is a plus
  • You are willing to work with patient tissue and conduct animal experiments (Felasa B certificate is a plus)

We offer

  • State of the art research facilities
  • A dedicated training program to broaden your expertise and enhance your skillset
  • A competitive compensation package based on expertise and experience

Starting Date: as soon as possible

How to apply?

For more information contact hannah.wilkinson@kuleuven.vib.be. Please complete the online application procedure and include a detailed CV including list of publications, a motivation letter, and the contact information of three referees.