PhD – SB: Study of the Interplay between Inflammation, Autophagy and Cell Death ...

Ghent VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research

10 Jul 2017


VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research

Peter Vandenabeele Lab



PhD – SB application: Study of the Interplay between Inflammation, Autophagy and Cell Death in Inflammatory and Degenerative Disorders

Lab: Lab of molecular and cellular signalling Prof. Mathieu JM Bertrand

About the lab: Our research group focuses on the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms regulating signaling to inflammation and cell death. Cell death and innate immunity are 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 (such as  cancer, neurodegenerative disorders and inflammatory conditions). Gaining a better understanding of the precise regulation of these pathways should help developping new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of these pathologies. Research in our group is mainly conducted at the biochemical and cellular levels, but also involves the use of in vivo models of disease. The group of Prof. Bertrand currently consists of two postdoctoral researchers and two 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. Some recent publications from the group: Rojas-Rivera et al., CDD 2017; Aguileta et al., CDD 2016; Ting and Bertrand, Trends Immunol 2016; Dondelinger et al., Mol Cell 2015; Dondelinger et al., CDD 2013.

Your job: The Receptor Interacting Protein Kinase 1 (RIPK1) has emerged as a crucial node in various innate immune and cell death pathways. RIPK1 is known to function as a scaffold molecule promoting gene expression (via activation of the MAPKs and NF-kB pathways), and as a kinase triggering cell death (in the form of apoptosis and necroptosis). The generation of mouse lines bearing mutations in RIPK1 and the development of specific inhibitors of RIPK1 have allowed to demonstrate the crucial in vivo roles of RIPK1 during homeostasis and in pathological conditions. 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 the doctoral (PhD) grant strategic basic research (SB) ( The project proposal with be written by the candidate with the help of the promotor (Prof. Mathieu JM Bertrand).


  • 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 be able to work independently in a team spirit.
  • The candidate should have excellent communication skills and a strong passion for life sciences
  • Additional conditions:

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, …).

Contact person: Prof. Mathieu JM Bertrand

Deadline of application: 31/08/2017. Deadline for project submission 15/09/2017.