PhD Position – Identification of Novel Causative Genes for Inherited Neuromuscular Disorders

Antwerp VIB-UAntwerp Center for Molecular Neurology

17 Apr 2018


VIB-UAntwerp Center for Molecular Neurology

Albena Jordanova Lab



About the Lab

We are a highly motivated and multidisciplinary team at the VIB-UAntwerp Center for Molecular Neurology looking for an enthusiastic colleague who wants to perform his/her PhD study on the identification of novel causative genes for Mendelian disorders.   One of the main topics of our lab is gene discovery in neuromuscular disorders. Using single-gene mutations as perturbations, we aim to provide a direct route to the biology of these debilitating diseases and offer management and treatment opportunities. Our research strategy is not limited to one experimental approach, but starts with genetic studies in unique collections of patients and extends to functional studies in model systems, like Drosophila, yeast or human cells.


In the advertised research project, the PhD student will study Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathies (CMT) and hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSP), two clinically and genetically heterogeneous disorders with a common dying-back etiology. We have large collections of CMT/HSP patients with still unidentified genetic defects, where consanguinity or ethnic origin will facilitate gene discovery. The candidate will use genetic approaches for mapping of human disorders combined with genome, exome, transcriptome sequencing and bioinformatics, to find the culprit genes. The causality of identified mutations and the triggered pathomechanisms will be further tested in appropriate cellular and animal models. Genotype-phenotype correlations will be established to facilitate the future diagnosis and prognosis of the patients.

The researcher will be embedded in an ongoing project with a multi-disciplinary team of wet lab scientists and bioinformaticians, and with a multi-site network of clinical experts. He/she will have access to state-of-the-art on-site facilities for sequencing, tissue culture, animal modeling and bioinformatics.

As part of the VIB-UAntwerp Center for Molecular Neurology and VIB, the successful applicant will benefit from established collaborations and access to centralized facilities with expertise in functional genomi s and cell biology, proteomics, cutting-edge microscopy, structural biology, technology development, and bio-informatics. VIB provides a highly interactive environment and ample training opportunities for PhD and postdoctoral researchers. In addition, the VIB-UAntwerp Center for Molecular Neurology is located in the city of Antwerp, the capital of Flanders, offering a culturally and historically rich, and ethnically diverse environment.    


  •  Master degree in medicine or biomedicine;
  • Strong interest in human genetics;
  • Knowledge in neurology or bioinformatics or biostatistics would be an advantage;
  • Ability to summarize data extracted from the literature, define research objectives, show self-motivation, flexibility and team spirit;
  • Excellent verbal and written English communication skills;

How to apply?

Interested candidates should apply online.

Special requirements:

  • Detailed CV containing list of publications 
  • One page motivation letter, description of previous research experience (if any) and research interests
  • Names and addresses of 2 referees

More details on the project can be obtained from Prof. Albena Jordanova, PhD