PhD position: Complex genetics and microglia function in Alzheimer’s disease

Antwerp VIB-UAntwerp Center for Molecular Neurology

19 Apr 2021


VIB-UAntwerp Center for Molecular Neurology

Renzo Mancuso Lab, Kristel Sleegers Lab



About the labs 

The Sleegers lab (Complex Genetics of Alzheimer’s Disease) and the Mancuso lab (Microglia and Inflammation in Neurological Disorders, MIND) at the VIB-UAntwerp Center for Molecular Neurology, Belgium, are seeking a highly motivated PhD student to work on a project on genetic and human microglia function in Alzheimer’s disease.

About the project

Microglia and neuroinflammation play a central role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. Whereas human genetics highlight microglia as main player, the actual mechanisms by which risk variants translate into aberrant microglia function in humans remain poorly understood. This project will start from a deep genomic investigation of Alzheimer risk loci to prioritize variants of interest, and use mouse models, multi-omics approaches, iPSC, CRISPR and cutting-edge humanized mouse systems to unravel how these variants affect microglia biology and contribute to the initiation and perpetuation of Alzheimer’s disease.

Your job

This is a project at the interface of two labs: the Mancuso lab, working on human and mouse microglia biology in brain disorders, and the Sleegers lab working on complex Alzheimer’s disease genetics. In this project, you will make use of innovative genetic and transcriptomic approaches, genome engineering, CRISPR and viral vector technology, iPSC and humanized mouse technology to unravel the link between genetic risk and microglia function in Alzheimer’s disease. The successful applicant will work in both labs.

Selected references:
  • Mancuso et al. Nat Neurosci (2019). 22:2111-2116
  • Fattorelli, Martinez Muriana et al. Nat Protocols (2020), in press
  • Cuyvers et al. Lancet Neurology (2015) 14(8):814-822
  • De Roeck et al. Acta Neuropathologica (2018). 135(6):827-837
  • Bellenguez et al. MedRxiv 2020.10.01.20200659


We are seeking a highly motivated, enthusiastic, critical and creative individual to join our teams. The candidate should have a strong interest in neurobiology and wet lab or dry lab experience would be an advantage.

The position is open for candidates that have:
  • Masters in neuroscience (molecular, cellular, developmental, systems) or related disciplines.
  • Proficient in verbal and written English.
  • Knowledge in bioinformatics or experience with iPSC cultures would be an advantage.
  • Ability to summarize data extracted from literature and to define research objectives.
  • Passion for science, self-motivation, flexibility and team spirit.
Desirable but not required
  • Prior experience with mouse neurobiology and molecular biology
  • Prior experience with genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics or bioinformatics
  • Prior experience with iPSC biology
  • Prior experience with microglia biology

We offer

  •  A versatile and challenging job in a vibrant world-class research environment operating at an international level
  • State of the art research facilities
  • A dedicated training program to broaden your expertise and enhance your skill set
  • Financial support for at least 2 years. The successful candidate is encouraged to obtain a personal fellowship (e.g FWO)

Starting Date: as soon as possible

How to apply? 

For more information contact
and Please complete the online application procedure and include a motivation letter, a detailed CV incl. list of publications, and the contact information of three referees.