JOB POSTING: PhD position

Recruiting organisation: European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy, Italy

PI: Dr. Martino Calamai

Subproject title: Advanced imaging approaches for dissecting the mechanisms of release and trafficking of Biopharmaceuticals

Starting date: 01.11.2021

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Job description:

The advertised subproject will be carried out by a PhD student (“Early-stage Researcher”) at the European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy (Lens) over a period of 36 months. The recruited researcher will work in the Biophotonics laboratory of LENS. The ESR will be registered for the PhD programme at the University of Florence.

The overall goal of this subproject is to analyse the transport of IgG and its dependency on Fc-interacting molecules in vitro and ex vivo.

The specific goals are:

  1. Nano to micro scale study of antibodies release from nano/micro particles in hydrogel by means of single molecule imaging and fluoresce spectroscopy
  2. Imaging trafficking and diffusion of released antibodies in mixed primary cultures of olfactory epithelial cells and neurons by means of single molecule tracking experiments.
  3. Meso to macro scale monitoring of diffusion of antibodies in clarified mouse brains by means of confocal light sheet microscopy.

The main working tasks of the advertised subproject are:

  1. Characterization of antibodies release kinetics from nano/micro particles and diffusion rates in hydrogels in vitro.
  2. Determination of type of motion of selected antibodies during trafficking in primary cultures of olfactory epithelial cells and neurons to elucidate if antibody transport is extracellular. (Brownian diffusion expected) or intracellular (directed type of motion due to active transport)
  3. Realization of a brain wide map illustrating the specific tropism of selected antibodies.

Secondments are planned as follows:

  1. Biberach University of Applied Sciences, Germany: One-month
  2. University of Bern, Switzerland: One month
  3. Vector Pharma GmbH, Germany: One week
  4. University of Cambridge, UK: One month

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 € € 48,166.56 per annum without family allowance or € 54,166.56 per annum including the married person’s/dependents mobility allowance (family 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), 6 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.
  • Graduation in the field of Biology, Biotechnology, Chemistry or related fields – M.Sc. preferred.
  • Experience in at least one of the following areas: cell biology, biophysics, molecular biology, neuroscience, microscopy, nanoscience
  • Basic knowledge of cell biology.
  • Practical experience with image analysis is a plus.
  • Basic knowledge of data analysis 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, Italian 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 Italy 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.

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How to apply:

Interested candidates are strongly advised, prior to applying, to read carefully the job description and to contact Martino Calamai at calamai@lens.unifi.it in case of any questions or doubts.

To apply, please send an email with the following documents to:

segreteria@lens.unifi.it.

Your complete CV, a half-page summary of master thesis, certificates of examination grades, a letter of motivation (up to 1 page) describing your research career goals, skills and experience, and names and contact information of at least two academic referees who could write a letter of recommendation.

For further information about LENS, please see: https://lens.unifi.it For the Biophotonics group, please see: https://lens.unifi.it/research/biophotonics/

Assessment of applications starts 6 April 2021

Interviews are planned for April/ May 2021.