Postdoc or PhD student in Unfolded Protein Response in gut homeostasis

Ghent VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research

03 Sep 2022


VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research

Sophie Janssens Lab



About the lab and the project

The VIB Center for Inflammation Research is part of the VIB Life Sciences institute and is connected to Ghent University. Our center focuses on the mechanisms driving infection and inflammation.

The Sophie Janssens lab is looking for a motivated PhD student or postdoctoral researcher to join the “Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) in gut homeostasis” team. We are specifically interested in the role of IRE1b, a goblet specific sensor of the UPR, in the maintenance of the protective intestinal mucin barrier. In contrast to its well-known closely related paralogue IRE1α, the function of IRE1β is poorly understood. We recently identified a specific interactor for IRE1b in goblet cells that tunes its function towards a regulatory function in mucus homeostasis. To understand the importance of their interaction to coordinate mucus homeostasis, we generated a unique set of genetic mouse models to study the in vivo processes regulating gut barrier homeostasis. We will apply a wide range of technologies, amongst others cell signaling studies, RNA sequencing, flow cytometry and high content microscopy. The candidate will mainly apply these technologies to in vivo model systems, including models of gastrointestinal infection, but in addition will also set up organoid systems to study how mucin-specific UPR signaling proteins regulate the correct maturation of mucins. You will join a team of one postdoctoral researcher and one technician with whom you will work in close collaboration.


  • Master degree or PhD in biomedical sciences, medical sciences, bio-engineering, biochemistry/biotechnology or related disciplines
  • A strong desire to complete a PhD or post-doc using a wide range of technologies
  • Keen interest in gastrointestinal homeostasis and molecular mechanisms regulating these processes
  • Experience in working with mouse models (FELASA C required)
  • English verbal and written communication skills required

We offer 

  • A three year (postdoc) or four year (PhD student) position during which you are expected to also apply for additional competitive funding
  • An enjoyable working environment in a team of highly motivated PhD students, technicians and postdoctoral researchers
  • Extensive training opportunities and access to state-of-the-art tools

Selected publications

  • Cloots E, Simpson MS, De Nolf C, Lencer WI, Janssens S, & Grey MJ. Evolution and function of the epithelial cell-specific ER stress sensor IRE1β.  MUCOSAL IMMUNOLOGY. 2021;14.
  • Grey MJ, Cloots E, Simpson MS, LeDuc N, Serebrenik YV, et al. IRE1β negatively regulates IRE1α signaling in response to endoplasmic reticulum stress. JOURNAL OF CELL BIOLOGY. 2020;219(2).

VIB values diversity - in backgrounds and in experiences. The institute needs people from all backgrounds and ways of life to help build a thriving scientific environment. VIB is therefore looking for candidates who are not only strong in their own aptitudes but care deeply about supporting each other's growth. VIB's collaborators are people with different strengths, experiences and backgrounds, who share a passion for science that generates impact in science and in society. Diversity not only includes race and gender identity, but also nationality, age, disability status, sexual orientation, religion and many other parts of ones identity. All of VIB's employees' points of view are key to its success, and inclusion is everyone's responsibility.