A fully funded Postdoc position is available in the lab Structural & Molecular Microbiology at VIB – Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, to work on an FWO project studying the nucleation, cross-reactivity, and structure of bacterial functional amyloids (FA).
Amyloids are aggregative protein or peptide fibrils best known for their implication in a range of neurodegenerative illnesses. The self-assembly into cross-ß-structured fibrils is however not restricted to the off-pathway protein misfolding events, but also found as the native conformation of a wide range of pro- and eukaryotic proteins referred to as FA. FAs produced by prokaryotes are often related to the persistence and virulence of bacterial biofilms. Despite their importance, little is known regarding the FA ultrastructure and their mechanism of formation.
In this project we seek to determine the fiber structures and nucleation mechanisms of 3 selected FAs that contribute to the virulence of well-known human pathogens. Because there is an increasing awareness that bacterial FAs can trigger the co-aggregation of pathologic amyloids, we will also study the cross-reactivity between our FA targets and two human disease amyloid model systems.
We aim to deepen the understanding of how bacteria handle these potentially cytotoxic proteins, inspire novel antibacterial strategies by targeting FA virulence factors and expose additional health risk factors associated with FA triggered amyloidosis of host proteins.
The tasks will be production and purification of the amyloid proteins, biophysical characterization of their amyloidogenicity, determining cross-reactivity with pathological amyloids, and determining the fibril structures using cryo electron microscopy.
Candidates should hold a PhD in Sciences (eg. Biochemistry, Chemistry, Physics or Biophysics) or Bio-engineering sciences. Candidates should have a strong background in recombinant expression and purification of proteins, and have a keen interest in molecular assembly and structural biology.
We’re located at the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology – VIB (http://www.vib.be) and Free University Brussels (VUB), on a green and lively campus in the center of Brussels, Belgium.
How to apply?
Motivated candidates are asked to apply online. Enquiries should be addressed to [email protected].
Starting date: August/September