Have you recently successfully defended your doctorate degree in engineering or science? Do you wish to expand your career opportunities by doing a post doctorate?

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MSCA POSTDOC FRACTIONATION AND MONITORING OF EXTRACELLULAR VESICLES WITH INFLAMMATORY BIOMARKERS.

Mol
Postdoc
Description: 

Lipid membrane-packed extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by living cells are able to transfer their molecular cargo to recipient cells, which is accompanied by the reprogramming of the recipient cell functions. The release of EVs in the different body fluids in health and disease thus represents a biologically significant communication system, rendering them a promising tool for early detection and monitoring of diseases. The presence of EV-associated inflammation biomarkers and their link with underlying inflammatory processes in cardiovascular, neurological and immune diseases, cancer, and infection has been established. In conditions of serious illness the continuous and sensitive monitoring of inflammation biomarkers can be life-saving.

A novel technology for continuous biomarker monitoring based on Particle Mobility Sensing (PMS) with single-molecule resolution is being developed by Eindhoven University of Technology and spin-off company Helia Biomonitoring. The technology allows for detection of mobility changes of micron-sized particles conjugated with specific affinity molecules for the targeted biomarkers [Visser, Nat Commun 2018]. Assays for detection of inflammatory biomarkers are presently being developed on the PMS platform. In this IF project, the in-line sample fractionation system for EV isolation will be combined with PMS in order to study the feasibility of continuous EV-based inflammatory biomarker monitoring.

The project will focus on developing a filter membrane-based column combining size selectivity with affinity for isolation of small EV subsets (50-150 nm), which can be directly coupled with the PMS platform. This fractionation system will initially be optimized using reference vesicles (synthetic liposomes and/or recombinant cell-derived EVs) spiked in buffer. Next, tests will be run with EVs secreted by a well-defined in vitro cell culture system showing reproducible inflammatory marker release kinetics after external stimulation (e.g. endothelial cell line stimulated with bacterial endotoxin to evoke an inflammatory response), and finally, with reference EVs spiked in plasma samples derived from different healthy donors to simulate real-life user conditions. System parameters (e.g. flow rate, column volume, membrane pore size, surface functionalization, etc.) will be evaluated by assessing quantitative and qualitative aspects of the isolated EV fractions using state-of-the-art methods (e.g. nanoparticle tracking analyses, western blot, transmission electron microscopy, high-resolution flow cytometry). Inflammatory cytokine levels will be determined on intact versus lysate fractions using antibody arrays and/or ELISA as benchmarking technologies. Finally, proof-of-concept measurements will be performed with the PMS technology coupled to in-line fractionation of EVs to demonstrate the detection of 1 or 2 selected EV-associated inflammation markers in human plasma.

Collaboration with University of Eindhoven

Deadline application within VITO: 11/08/2019

Deadline MSCA IF: 11/09/2019

New

MSCA POSTDOC MIXED METAL OXIDE NANOSTRUCTURES FOR ENERGY APPLICATIONS: RATIONAL LIBRARY MADE ELECTROCHEMICALLY

Mol
Postdoc
Description: 
Metal-air batteries, solar fuels, and fuel cells are among the technologies driving the intensive study and development of better electrocatalysts, e.g., for oxygen reduction and oxygen evolution. The numerous methods existing for their synthesis yield different compositions, particle sizes, morphologies, ..., and ultimately determine their performance and affordability. On one hand, the rational synthesis and optimization of libraries of electrocatalysts in terms of structure and composition, is difficult. On the other hand, the large spread on the electrocatalytic performance of such electrocatalysts emphasizes the lack of control and reproducibility upon their synthesis. Ideally, large ranges of comparable materials with variable structures and compositions, as well as controllable and predictable structure-property relationships, should be synthesized rapidly and under the same operational conditions (e.g., synthesis route, flow, temperature, chemical environment, etc.). Only in this way, reliable benchmarking of electrocatalytic performances, mechanism conceptualization, and improvements towards a fast-track, affordable, and optimized production of such materials, can be achieved. Such a systematic platform for the systematic synthesis and screening of materials is not available today.

We have developed a novel, rapid, room-temperature, one-pot and one-step electrosynthesis platform that meets these characteristics. An unprecedented range of nanocrystalline mixed oxides and hydroxides can be achieved under comparable synthetic conditions, including birnessites, layered double hydroxides, and spinnels, which are amongst the best performing materials for the aforementioned electrocatalytic applications. So far, we have focused on cobalt-manganese compositions, but other promising chemistries are envisaged to achieve more significant outcomes.


The postdoctoral project will focus on developing and understanding the synthesis of a rational library of materials,  to be screened for electrocatalytic energy applications. Preferred chemistries will include a combination of two or more of the following metals: Ni, Al, Co, Zn, Fe, Mn, and Cu. The nanocrystalline structures produced will be characterized via electronic microscopy, x-ray diffraction, infrared spectroscopy, DLS, single-particle ICP-MS, analytical titrations, etc., as well as for their electrocatalytic performance for at least one of the electrocatalytic reactions of interest, in a systematic manner. This will allow establishing structure-property-performance correlations, and ultimately will open the door for creating optimized libraries of the electrocatalytic materials. Benchmarking against the most performing materials reported in scientific or technical literature will demonstrate the superiority of the approach developed.


Collaboration with University of Leuven

Deadline application within VITO: 11/08/2019

Deadline MSCA IF: 11/09/2019

POSTDOC DEVELOPMENT OF CHROMATOGRAPHY MATERIALS

Mol
Postdoc
Description: 

VITO is a leading European independent research and consultancy centre in the areas of cleantech and sustainable development. Its research programme ‘Sustainable Materials Management’ has the ambition to accelerate the transition to a more circular economy from a materials perspective. One of our core research activities is the development of technologies for shaping powders into added value products for use in different industrial applications, like separation and recovery of valuable materials, advanced catalyst materials and energy storage.


Chromatography is the most widely used separation technique in chemical (research) laboratories and is commonly used in the chemical process industry. We aim to further develop innovative applications in this area, in close collaboration with industrial companies and other research institutes.  As a post-doctoral fellow you will take an important role in the development of this rapidly evolving research track.   


A key component of a chromatography set-up is the chromatography resin or stationary phase that consists typically of functionalized micro particles. Performance of the stationary phase is among other determined by both the porous architecture and the surface chemistry.


  • In our two year post-doctoral research project we will focus on the development of novel material concepts for chromatography, using innovative shaping methods and compatible surface modification technologies.
  • VITO has unique expertise in 3D-printing of ceramics and microsphere production. Both technologies will be used to develop specific porous architectures that allow uniform flow, increased surface area and lower pressure drop of the stationary phase .
  • In addition surface modification treatment will be tuned to optimize the surface chemistry of the novel stationary phase. 

POSTDOC SOL-GEL

Mol
Postdoc
Description: 

VITO is a leading European independent research and consultancy centre in the areas of cleantech and sustainable development. Its research programme ‘Sustainable Materials Management’ has the ambition to accelerate the transition to a more circular economy from am aterials perspective. One of our core research activities is the development of technologies for shaping materials into added value products for use in different industrial applications, like separation and recovery of valuable materials, advanced catalyst materials and energy storage.


Sol-gel chemistry covers the synthesis of materials (eg metal oxides) from solution-state precursors. This enables a variety in structure and composition of the solid product. Recent trends indicate an increase in the use of sol-gel chemistry for the development of nanoscale powders to be used as catalyst materials or supports functionalised separation beads. As a post-doctoral research fellow you will take an important role in the development of this rapidly evolving research track.   


VITO has unique expertise in the shaping of powders using 3D-printing and microsphere production.

 

  • In this 2 year post-doctoral research project we aim to further develop specific sol-gel synthesis routes for metal oxides to be implemented in these innovative shaping technologies. 
  • More specifically the chemistry of the sol-gel reaction will be tuned to optimize the kinetics towards our droplet coagulation or micro-reactor process. The aim is to control the architecture and composition of the microsphere;
  • Also novel sol-gel strategies for the solidification of the precursors during the 3D-printing process will be investigated;
  • An important aspect during this project is taking into account the scale-up of the process to relevant quantities for further testing in the various application under investigation.

Postdoc @ VITO

We offer you an outstanding research environment at the interface between the field of academic research and the applied industry.

Take a look at the postdoc topic list to see what VITO has in store for you.

VITO regularly launches a call for candidates who would like to do research as a postdoc researcher that supports the strategic research of VITO.

There are several possibilities:

VITO supports candidates who have already obtained a doctorate and who wish to apply for a scholarship within the framework of Marie Sklodowska-Curie, or for another grant. International exchanges are an asset in this case.

On 21st March 2013, FWO and VITO signed a protocol to fund 2 additional post doctorates next to the FWO mandates that are granted annually. This procedure starts by submitting a standard application for an FWO postdoc mandate. Places will be offered to applicants who are ranked high enough and whose research proposal is situated within a strategic VITO domain. More info