Description

Context and research challenge

VITO plays an important role in human biomonitoring on the Flemish (FLEHS studies) and European level (H2020 HBM4EU project), and is involved in the preparation of the European Partnership for the Assessment of Risks from Chemicals (PARC).  In one of the work packages of PARC, ‘Innovative methods and tools for monitoring and surveys’ will be developed. VITO and KUL will collaborate to develop a self-sampling device for analysis of chemicals in small blood volumes. The technology is ideal for use by non-trained personnel and allows mass production fabrication (i.e. roll-to-roll), which lowers its production cost to < 5 €/device.

Approach

An existing microfluidic chip will be adopted to allow user-friendly and remote (at home) self-sampling of capillary blood. This chip can be used, as nowadays assessment of chemicals is possible in small blood/ plasma volumes of tens of microliters. The sampling chip is patented by KUL, based on the (i)SIMPLE technology (see picture). (i)SIMPLE combines a microfluidic channels network with passive paper-based pumps, enabling precise pushing and pulling of liquids. In particular, on the chip, two different modules will be developed and eventually integrated. First, a blood to serum/plasma filtration module is optimized. Second, a module is optimized to mix on-chip standards of a chemical, needed for LC-MS/MS analysis. Sampling cartridge performance (e.g. serum/plasma volume, type of standards, storage conditions) is optimized towards maximum compatibility with the downstream laboratory analysis.

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 a competitive MSCA-PF proposal. 

Collaborations

Secondment (3 months, spread over the 2-years) to Department of Biosystems – Biosensors Group 
KU Leuven – University of Leuven

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, as soon as possible and no later than Friday 30 April 2021 17h Brussels time.

Mail your interest to: Dr. Ir. Gudrun Koppen, project leader in Human Biomonitoring projects, and Dr. Stefan Voorspoels, project leader in Chemical Analytics. E-mail addresses: gudrun.koppen@vito.be and stefan.voorspoels@vito.be.

Deadline MSCA-PF 2021

Wednesday 15 September 2021 17h Brussels time. 

Target start date

The EU informs the results on the MSCA-PF applications in February 2022. Successful candidates are expected to be available to start within the following two months and no later than summer 2022.

Qualification

We invite applicants to propose a more detailed and focused research approach within the scope of this MSCA-PF 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 skills, 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 Postdoctoral Fellowship – please refer to the conditions to be set-out in the Horizon Europe MSCA-PF-2021 Work Programme, including taking into account the new MSCA Green Charter principles.

The following assets will be advantageous:

  • 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;
  • Work/PhD performed in the field of analytical chemistry, microfluidics, biomarkers  
  • 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 programme, we offer;

  • An exciting opportunity at VITO, the independent Flemish research organisation driven by the major global challenges. 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: 
32681