The VIB Center for Brain and Disease Research (KU Leuven, Belgium) is a vibrant and international research center where key issues relevant for major human neurodegenerative diseases are being tackled. Researchers in the Verstreken lab study the mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease and methodologies to circumvent pathology. Recent work has identified new pathways of synaptic homeostasis that are deregulated in Parkinson animal models including fruit flies and mouse cells as well as human neurons derived from iPS cells. (see Uytterhoeven et al., 2011 Cell; Vos et al., 2012 Science; Haddad et al., 2013 Mol Cell; Uytterhoeven et al., 2015 Neuron; Soukup et al., 2016 Neuron Vanhauwaert et al., 2017 EMBOj; Vos et al., 2017 JCB). While the lab has been strong in identifying targets, we are lacking animal models that recapitulate human specific components of the disease in vivo.
This post doc project has the goal to build human mouse chimeras where differentiated patient iPS cells can be studied in the context of the murine brain. The goal is to induce Parkinson pathology in the context of human neurons in vivo and use our extensive knowledge of targeting the pathways relevant to Parkinson’s in this new humanized system. Our center houses a large mouse facility and iPS cell platform and we closely collaborate with the laboratories of Pierre Vanderhaeghen and Bart De Strooper, experts in these manipulations. In addition, several expertise units such as bio-imaging, single cell sequencing and bioinformatics that are relevant to this project are readily available (see website cbd.vib.be). This project is a unique opportunity to create new and improved models for a major neurodegenerative disease and to tackle Parkinson pathology in the context of human neurons.
We seek a young and ambitious postdoctoral fellow with a background in mouse neuroanatomy and/or iPS cell manipulations. Experience in cell biology and molecular biology are a plus. The ability to work in a multidisciplinary research team as well as effective communication and writing skills and a good mastery of English are essential for a successful selection.
Financial support is available for 3 years but the successful candidate is encouraged to obtain an independent fellowship (Marie-Curie, EMBO, or National funding organizations) during this time.
How to apply?
Please complete the online application procedure and enclose (1) a motivation letter to your application, (2) a one page research proposal related to this position, (3) mention the contact details of two researchers we can contact for a reference letter (one of which should be your PhD mentor).
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