PhD Position

Ghent VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research

21 Jun 2018


VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research

Peter Vandenabeele Lab



Job description

Our research group focuses on the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms regulating signalling to cell death and inflammation, two inter-connected and evolutionary conserved processes that utilize a great number of related molecular effectors and parallel signal transduction mechanisms. Although of crucial importance, inappropriate activation of these pathways can be detrimental and lead to the establishment of various pathologies in human.

Receptor Interacting Protein Kinase 1 (RIPK1) has emerged as a major signalling hub downstream of several immune receptors, where it regulates cell death and inflammation through kinase-dependent and -independent mechanisms. As a scaffold molecule, RIPK1 facilitates activation of the MAPK and NF-kB pathways and inhibits caspase-8-dependent apoptosis and RIPK3/MLKL-dependent necroptosis. On the other hand, as a kinase, RIPK1 paradoxically induces apoptosis and necroptosis following its enzymatic activation. Apart from gene expression and cell death induction, RIPK1 was found to interact with components of the autophagy machinery, but the consequences of these interactions remain unclear.  

We are looking for an enthusiastic and extremely motivated PhD student to unravel to role of RIPK1 in autophagy, and to study the interplay between inflammation, autophagy and cell death in RIPK1-dependent inflammatory and degenerative disorders. We expect the candidate to apply and obtain a PhD fellowship for FWO. The project proposal with be written by the candidate with the help of the promotor (Prof. Mathieu JM Bertrand).

The group of Prof. Bertrand currently consists of one postdoctoral researchers and three PhD students, and is embedded in the unit of molecular cell death and signalling (headed by Prof. Vandenabeele), which consists of around 35 people performing research in the field of cell death and inflammation.

Recent publications from the group: Dondelinger et al. Nature Cell Biology 2017, Rojas-Rivera et al., Cell Death and Differentiation 2017; Aguileta et al., Cell Death and Differentiation 2016; Ting and Bertrand, Trends Immunology 2016; Dondelinger et al., Molecular Cell 2015.


  • The candidate should have a Master degree in the field of biomedical sciences, biotechnology and biochemistry, or bioengineering. Experience in the study of cell death, inflammation and/or autophagy is an advantage.
  • The candidate should be eager to learn and expected to work both independently and in a team spirit.
  • The candidate should have excellent communication skills and a strong passion for life sciences
  • The candidate should be eligible for an FWO PhD fellowship and expected to obtain the fellowship, unless if they come with their own fellowship. 
  • English is used in all VIB laboratories for scientific communication. Therefore, candidates must have an excellent command of English.

We offer

An excellent and international research environment with young and motivated scientists. Great expertize in fields of cell death and inflammation, (inter)national collaborations, close guidance, and access to several core facilities with high-tech equipment (FACs, Microscopy, MS, screening platforms, …).

How to apply? 

Please send us your CV, transcripts of study, a 500 word (max.) personal statement and contact info of two references.  Please compile these documents in one PDF document and submit your online application before August 15th, 2018.