In the framework of a collaborative project between the laboratory of Professor Ton Rabelink, Leiden, the Netherlands and the laboratory of Professor Peter Carmeliet, VIB–KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium we are recruiting a highly motivated candidate to coordinate and execute a study on immunomodulation (immunosuppression) of endothelial cells to improve the success of organ transplantation.
The lab of Prof. Carmeliet, the Laboratory of Angiogenesis and Vascular Metabolism, is part of the Center for Cancer Biology (CCB), one of the research departments of VIB (Flanders Institute for Biotechnology) located at the KU Leuven, Leuven. The lab is focusing on unraveling the molecular and cellular basis of blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) and on the function and dysfunction of the vascular endothelium in health and disease. Recent projects, combining single-cell transcriptomics with bulk multi-omics (transcriptomics, (epi)-genomics, proteomics & metabolomics) revealed novel insights in endothelial cell metabolism and heterogeneity in health and disease, including contribution of the endothelium in immune responses. The lab also developed / is further developing Artificial Intelligence approaches to identify and prioritize promising targets in immunomodulatory and other endothelial responses, and Lipid Nanoparticle (LNP)-based methodologies for fast, endothelial-selective gene knockdown/knockout in vivo for target validation.
The lab of Prof. Rabelink is one of the research labs of the Einthoven Laboratory of Vascular and Regenerative Medicine, Department Nephrology, University of Leiden, and has a strong focus on vascular nephrology, kidney transplantation and regenerative medicine. The Rabelink lab has improved procedures to preserve donor kidney organs and has developed protocols for the generation of iPSC-derived kidney organoids as possible alternatives to kidney transplants. The lab also developed animal models of transplant rejection and applied it to generate vascular single-cell transcriptome data that offer exciting opportunities to characterize the contribution of the vascular endothelium to the rejection initiation and progression, and to identify targets with potential for therapeutic immunomodulation. Prof. Rabelink’s lab is also part of the international Center for Stem Cell Medicine, reNEW, funded by Novo Nordisk Foundation (NNF) (https://cph-bioscience.com/en/research/stem-cell-center-renew).
The Carmeliet and Rabelink labs jointly study approaches to reduce transplant rejection, in part by immunomodulating / immunosuppressing the endothelium of the transplant or organoid vasculature.
- to discover and prioritize new endothelial-expressed immunostimulatory genes that promote transplant rejection, based on bulk/single cell multi-omics combined with bioinformatics and Artificial Intelligence analyses
- to functionally validate these targets using LNP-mediated, endothelial-selective blockade in preclinical transplantation models
- to lead a research project, under direct supervision of Prof. Carmeliet and Prof. Rabelink, to team up with members of the Leiden and Leuven labs
- to manage the project including supervising junior colleagues, planning daily agendas, managing budgets, writing papers/grants, designing experiments, etc.
- (i) You have a PhD in biology/biomedicine, pharmacy, biomedical engineering, or related fields, with minimal 3-4 years of research experience; (ii) You have a publication record in peer-reviewed international journals. Expertise in bioinformatics/computer science (AI) is an asset.
- Trained in immunology and related assays, with an interest in endothelial biology and targeting endothelial cells for alternative immunotherapy.
- Other extra-added values: (i) experience in single-cell multi-omics; (ii) computational programming in R; (iii) competence/interest in analyzing and integrating complex omics- and clinical datasets.
- Basic standard values: (i) You are interested and motivated to work on ambitious, competitive projects in an open, international, dynamic and enthusiastic team; (ii) You have excellent organizational and supervisory skills, you can work in a team as well as independently; (iii) You have a strong ability to multi-task, meet deadlines and work accurately; (iv) You have good communication skills in spoken and written English.
- The unique opportunity to work in a multidisciplinary international team and to contribute to the discovery and development of novel (immunomodulatory) drug targets.
- You will start working in the Leuven lab and have access to, and training in, state-of-the-art technologies in biomedical research. The Leuven lab has multiple core-facilities (see: https://vibcancer.be/expertise-centers).
- You will regularly visit and interact with the Leiden lab and have the opportunity to participate and collaborate with the member labs of the international Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Medicine (https://cph-bioscience.com/en/research/stem-cell-center-renew).
- Opportunities to interact with and become acquainted with start-up companies, involved in developing new vascular medicine and/or "big-biological data management companies" (https://unicle.life/) involved in target discovery.
- A dynamic working environment in which quality, professionalism and team spirit are encouraged. A stimulating scientific surrounding in a young, enthusiastic, motivated international team (with English as main language).
- Training in project management (e.g. supervision of students, budget management). Excellent training conditions within a team of experts. Long-term career opportunities.
- Starting as soon as possible.
How to apply?
Applications for this position should be submitted online and contain:
- Complete CV
- Recent photo of yourself
- Motivation letter
- List of publications
- Summary of past research
- Contact information
- Reference letters from 3 or 4 referees