JOB POSTING: PhD position

Recruiting organisation: Biberach University of Applied Science, Germany

PI: Prof. Dr. Katharina Schindowski-Zimmermann

Subproject title: Analysis of mAb transport and its dependency on Fc-interacting molecules in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo

Starting date: 01.10.2021

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Job description:

The advertised subproject will be carried out by a PhD student (“Early-stage Researcher”) at Biberach University over a period of 36 months. The recruited researcher will work in at the Institute of Applied Biotechnology that has research and development projects in the field of Biopharmaceutics, Advanced Therapeutic Medicinal Products, Drug Delivery and Industrial Bioengineering in the close vicinity with some leading global Pharmaceutical and Biotechnological Companies in the South of Germany. The ESR will be registered for the PhD programme at University of Bern in Switzerland.

The overall goal of this subproject is the analysis of the transmucosal pathway through the nasal mucosa and the role of specific mucosal carriers.

The specific goals are:

  1. Molecular understanding of intranasal transmucosal delivery of antibodies to the CNS;
  2. Supporting the tailoring of antibodies or Fc fusion proteins according to the identified molecules involved in transport and immune interaction for an optimal and safe transport (antibody engineering);
  3. Cell line development and manufacturing of up to three engineered mAbs.

The main working tasks of the advertised subproject are:

  1. Histological and biochemical mAb interaction studies by confocal laser microscopy, immunoprecipitation and mass spectroscopy analysis.
  2. Identification of involved amino acids for transport by site directed mutagenesis.
  3. Antibody engineering, characterization of engineered mAbs and their suitability in the intranasal drug delivery models.
  4. Collecting data for pharmacokinetic modelling.

Secondments are planned as follows:

  1. Laboratorio Europeo di Spettroscopie Non Lineari, Italy: Two weeks
  2. University of Bern, Switzerland: One week
  3. University of Cambridge, United Kingdoms: One Month
  4. CSL Behring, Switzerland: Two months

This subproject is fully funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network „Bio2Brain“ (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2020). The monthly gross salary consists of a living allowance, mobility allowance, and family allowance (if applicable). This is € 45,262.80 per annum which includes the single person’s mobility allowance, or €51,262.80 per annum, which includes the married person’s/dependents mobility allowance.

For more information on MSCA-ITN, please see: https://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/.

The recruited researcher will have the opportunity to work as part of an international, interdisciplinary team of 13 PhD students, based at universities and industrial firms throughout Europe.

The successful candidate will attend yearly summer schools as well as international meetings and will receive training on transferable skills. The ESR is expected to finish the project with a PhD thesis and to disseminate the results through patents (if applicable), publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at international conferences.

Background information:

Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Networks (ETNs) are joint research and training projects funded by the European Union. Funding is provided for PhD students from both inside and outside Europe to carry out individual project work in a European country other than their own.

The Bio2Brain network will create a research environment for the interdisciplinary and intersectoral training of 13 ESRs for project work lasting for 36 months. They are supported by 11 academic teams (beneficiaries and partner universities), 5 key industrial stakeholders and an academic non-profit organization.

Disorders of the central nervous system (CNS), including multiple sclerosis as well as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, affect around 165 million people in Europe. These disorders are often associated with severe suffering of the patients and their families, as well as an enormous burden on the social systems.

The Bio2Brain trans-European research network aims to promote efficient drug administration to the CNS. The research and training programme covers the development of new advanced materials, formulations, and engineered proteins for the intranasal CNS delivery of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). The ESRs will obtain experience in the entire transdisciplinary development cycle of the medicinal product, from pharmacological drug pathway validation, product and process design, synthesis to characterization, as well as validation and quality control. The training will be complemented with useful tools for the time to market and commercialisation phase.

Requirements:

Qualifications / experience:

  • Early-stage researcher: a researcher without a PhD, who is in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research career, measured from the date when the ESR obtained the degree, which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.
    Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.
  • Graduation in the field of biochemistry, biotechnology, biology or related fields – M.Sc. requirred.
  • Experience in at least two of the following areas:
    • Protein chemistry preferable antibodies
    • Cell culture technology
    • In vivo experiments
    • Histology science
  • Practical experience in laboratory work is a must.
  • Basic knowledge of pharmacology and immunology is a plus.
  • Basic knowledge of data analysis (MatLab, Prism etc.) and Microsoft Office.
  • Well-structured and autonomous working style, flexible and co-operative, very good organizational and communication skills, good writing and presentation skills, willing to travel and go on secondments.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English is a must, German is a plus.

Disabled applicants will be given preference, if equally qualified. Goals related to gender equality and diversity policy are an integral part at our institution. Therefore, we are pleased to receive applications from qualified women and diverse persons.

Mobility:

The applicant must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies etc.) in Germany for more than 12 months in the past three years. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.

The approval of a work and residence permit for Germany is a prerequisite.

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How to apply:

Interested candidates are strongly advised, prior to applying, to read carefully the job description and to contact Katharina Schindowski Zimmermann at esr4@hochschule-bc.de in case of any questions or doubts.

Application system closed.

Assessment process on-going.

For further information about Biberach University, please see: https://www.hochschule-biberach.de. For our research on intranasal drug delivery, please see: https://www.hochschule-biberach.de/nose2brain.

For questions, please contact:
Prof. Dr. Katharina Schindowski Zimmermann at esr4@hochschule-bc.de.

Assessment of applications starts 6 April 2021

Interviews are planned for April/ May 2021.