Description

Research challenge:
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are a promising source of diagnostic biomarkers for a range of diseases. A key challenge for EV-based diagnostics is the heterogenous nature of EVs - biological fluids contain a mixture of vesicles originating from different cell types and produced via various biological mechanisms. In many cases only a small fraction of the EV population contains clinically relevant biomarkers. This limits the usefulness of bulk analytical methods which only measure averaged characteristics of the EV population.

In contrast, single-particle measurements which can directly provide information about rare sub-populations of EVs hold great promise. Flow cytometry is one such approach, potentially allowing the robust and quantitative measurement of EV number, size, and per-particle surface marker expression with a wide dynamic range with high throughput. However, the small size of EVs and low abundance of surface biomarkers challenges conventional flow cytometry approaches, leading to the development of vesicle-specific instruments, assays and protocols.

Approach:
To enable the translation of small-particle flow cytometry into the clinical diagnostics laboratory, standardization of the EV analysis workflows is required. This includes calibration procedures and materials, as well as control experiments to confirm the vesicular nature of the detected events and assay the contribution of non-vesicular contaminants. Furthermore, the small size of EVs means that only a small number of antigens is present per particle. Their detection thus requires high sensitivity, demanding the combination of brighter and more stable fluorescent dyes, high-quality affinity probes and optimized labelling protocols.

These key technical issues will be tackled in the proposed project using the BD FACS Celesta SORP system recently acquired by VITO. The novel workflows will be demonstrated for their applicability in cancer patient-derived clinical samples and compared to baseline EV profiles in healthy donor samples. Sample collections will be obtained from a local hospital in close collaboration with clinicians, who will also act as future end-users.

With this call, we invite researchers to submit their resumé (including track-record) and a one-page project description, that will be the basis for selecting candidates with whom we will collaborate for developing competitive MSCA-IF proposals.

 

Deadline application to VITO: Interested candidates should submit their resume (incl. track record) and a one-page note describing the project for which a Marie Curie grant will be applied, before Friday 17 April 2020 - 17h Brussels time.

 

Deadline MSCA-IF 2020: Wednesday 9 September 2020 17h Brussels time.

Qualification

We invite applicants to propose a more detailed and focused research approach within the scope of this MSCA-IF Fellowship as a part of their application. We are primarily looking for experienced researchers who wish to use this period as an opportunity to further develop their research, and to develop longer-term research collaborations with VITO and other institutions conducting research in the field.
The candidates as in principle must be eligible for a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship – please refer to the conditions set-out in the
H2020 MSCA Work Programme
.

The following assets will be advantageous:

- PhD in Biochemistry or Biophysics

- An excellent track record in research, necessary for being able to develop a competitive Marie Curie Fellowship application;
- Already published relevant research work in prestigious scientific journals;
- An open and cooperation-oriented nature, but with strong abilities for independent research work;
- Highly proficient in spoken and written English.

 

 

Offer

 

Initially, we offer assistance in developing competitive Marie Curie Individual Fellowship proposals.

Then, to successful applicants to the Marie Curie program, we offer;
- An exciting opportunity at VITO, the independent Flemish research organisation in the area of cleantech and sustainable development. Our goal? To accelerate the transition to a sustainable world;
- Participation in a dynamic professional research & innovation community;
- Flexible working conditions;
- An inclusive and friendly work environment;
- On-boarding assistance and other services.

 

Requisition

Location: 
Mol
Jobfield: 
Postdoc
ID: 
29220