PhD thesis proposal (or junior post-doc position) in clinical neuroscience
“Biochemical characterization of amyloid and tau protein pathologies in the cerebrospinal fluid and plasma”
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by both amyloid and tau pathologies. The concentrations of these proteins can now be measured in the cerebrospinal fluid. Characterizing the biochemical abnormalities of these proteins using human samples is critically important for better understanding the disease progression, specifically in the preclinical stages. Besides, developing blood-based biomarker able to detect amyloid and/or tau pathologies would allow screening the elderly population at large, before the onset of cognitive impairment. New techniques, such as mass spectrometry or SIMOA, have the potential to describe the sites of phosphorylation of the tau protein and to detect the presence of amyloid (and tau) in the plasma. We are currently developing these cutting-edge techniques at the Louvain Aging Brain lab and we are setting up collaborations to validate these new in-vivo biomarkers against human post-mortem samples. We are providing access to a large database of frozen samples and are acquiring an average of sixty samples a year from patients having a variety of neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease. Clinical and imaging data are available for most of the patients, to conduct clinico-pathological studies.
Université Catholique de Louvain, Avenue Mounier, 1200 Brussels, Belgium.
The Louvain Aging Lab (LAB): Prof. B. Hanseeuw, Institute of Neuroscience (IoNS) includes three PIs, three PhD students, and eight master students.
In collaboration with:
The Neurochemistry Unit: Prof. V. van Pesch, IoNS
The MassProt and PHOS Units: Prof. M. Rider, De Duve Institute
The candidate is expected to start working between January and September 2019, after enrolment in the local Neuroscience PhD program.
Candidates must have a master degree in medicine, pharmacy, biology, or chemistry. Strong laboratory skills and interest for neurodegenerative disorders are required. The candidate should be fluent in English and/or French. Junior post-docs having experience with mass spectrometry or SIMOA are also encouraged to apply.
For candidates with no previous research experience, excellent academic grades are required. Support letters from previous supervisors are welcome.
Support from the Clinical Research Fund of UCLouvain is available to fund the thesis during an initial period of 2 years. During this period, the candidate will apply for a FRIA or FNRS PhD grant for further support until thesis completion (http://www.fnrs.be/en/index.php/calls-regulations; total: 4 years). Approximate stipend: 1700€/month (this estimate could vary with family situation, age, degrees). Financial support for commuting to the University will be provided. Funding will be re-evaluated every year according to achievements, in collaboration with the PhD supervision committee.
Post-doctoral position in neurosciences and protein chemistry
We are looking for a highly motivated scientist to analyze the structure and properties of amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta) oligomers, which are known to play a critical role in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
The position is available at UCLouvain - Institute of Neuroscience (Brussels) in collaboration with University of Liège - Mass Spectrometry Laboratory.
Primary responsibility of the candidate will include creating the cellular and molecular tools to characterize particular beta-amyloid peptide assemblies that we previously found in our cellular models, and study their pathological properties.
Hence, a thorough background in molecular biology and cellular models is necessary, as well as an expertise in protein chemistry. Previous hands-on laboratory experience in neurobiology and cell imaging would be highly beneficial. Candidates should have a PhD degree (or equivalent) in biology, biomedicine or related field.
The project will be conducted under the supervision of Prof. P. Kienlen-Campard (UCLouvain) and Dr. N. Smargiasso (University of Liège). The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work in both neurobiology and protein chemistry laboratories, in an interdisciplinary -oriented environment. Good communication skills and good working knowledge of English are required.
A grant is available for 1 year with possible extension for a second year. Monthly net salary is of about 2200 euros, according to qualifications and experience.
CV and letters of motivation including 2 references should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Deadline for application: March 31st 2018
PhD thesis proposal
Short-term memory in idiopathic Parkinson’s disease: a behavioural and electrophysiological approach.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized by both motor and non-motor symptoms. Impairment of cognitive functions like memory, attention and time ‘perception’ has important but often underestimated consequences in the everyday life of patients. The PhD candidate will investigate the influence of short-term memory on the temporal and spatial preparation of eye movements in idiopathic PD patients. The thesis should lead to the proposal of a simple and reliable oculomotor assessment of short-term memory in idiopathic PD patients that could be used to estimate cognitive decline and evaluate treatments. Furthermore, analysis of EEG data (in the temporal and frequency domains) together with eye movements should lead to the formulation of quantitative hypotheses about the underlying neural processes. Analyses will be performed in patients at different stages of progression of the disease and with different anti-parkinsonian treatments.
Significance of research
Cognitive decline has a major impact in PD patients and in the aging population in general with a significant cost for families and the society. Most of the time, cognitive decline is evaluated using questionnaires and psychological testing. These methods rely on introspection, require good language skills and are often approximate. We suggest that an oculomotor approach based on implicit methods could yield significantly better estimates of early cognitive decline, at a reasonable cost, and help better understand underlying neural dysfunctions.
Support by private donators through the Louvain Foundation is available to fund the thesis during an initial period of 2 years. During this period, the candidate will apply for a FRIA or FNRS PhD grant for further support until thesis completion (http://www.fnrs.be/en/index.php/calls-regulations; total: 4 years). Approximate stipend: 1700 euros/month (this estimate could vary according to family situation, age and education). Funding will be re-evaluated every year according to achievements, in collaboration with the PhD supervision committee.
Location: Institute of Neurosciences (IONS), Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium. Financial support for commuting between the private domicile and the University will be provided. All equipment currently available in the Lab to perform the project (https://www.uclouvain.be/en-425366.html#Team). EEG analysis will be realized in collaboration with Prof. A. Mouraux (same institute). Patients will be selected from the Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc (on the same campus) in collaboration with Dr. Anne Jeanjean. Age and sex-matched controls should be recruited amongst the people accompanying patients or locally. The candidate is expected to start working in April – March 2017, with some flexibility, after enrolment in the local Neuroscience PhD program.
- Master in Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Applied Sciences, Psychology, or equivalent.
- Excellent academic grades (> 80 %).
- Training in systems, cognitive neurosciences or equivalent.
- Training in statistics (ANOVA). Knowledge of SPSS will be appreciated.
- A very good command of English.
- Training in MATLAB.
- Support letters are welcome.
- Team spirit.
Year 1: Preparation of documents for approval of experiences by the local Ethics committee. Preliminary testing of the experimental protocol on a small sample of patients and/or matched control subjects. Preparation of the material for a short review paper on the topic of short-term memory in PD patients.
Year 2: Data collection of oculomotor and EEG data. Programming of data analysis. Submission of the review paper to an international journal with peer-reviewing.
Year 3: Analysis and preparation of the publication of experimental results. A minimum of 2 additional experimental papers in international journals with peer-reviewing is expected. Impact factor is not a central question, but we expect it to be > 3.
Year 4: PhD thesis writing and defense; preparation of further experiments.
Post-Doc position at Institut du Fer à Moulin, Paris
A two-year post-doctoral position supported by an ANR grant is available at the Institut du Fer à Moulin (IFM, http://www.u839.idf.inserm.fr/en/). Located in the 5tharrondissement of Paris, at a walking distance of several other research institutes (Curie Institut, ENS, ESPCI, IBPS-Paris6, ICM,…), the IFM provides an international environment with students and fellows from around the world, and state of the art technology platforms.
The position is available in the group headed by Christine Métin (in Team 4 “Developmental mechanisms of brain disorders”) who carries out researches on the migration of embryonic GABAergic neurons. The successful applicant will work on a research program supported by an ANR grant aimed at analyzing the role of the primary cilium and the Sonic Hedgehog transduction pathway in the migration of cortical interneurons. The research will be performed on mice embryos, using primary cell cultures, cultures of organotypic slices, and in utero electroporation. Live cell imaging techniques will be used to analyze cell migration.
Applicants should be highly motivated candidates, with a solid background in molecular and developmental neurosciences and strong interest in cell biology and cell imaging techniques.Basic knowledge in molecular biology and histology is required.Aknowledge oflive cell imaging techniques will be appreciated. Applicants should be able to perform experimentalresearch in an independent way and to closely interact with members of the team. Previous post-doctoral experience is not mandatory.
Candidates should contact Christine Métin by mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and send a CV with past research experiences, publication record, as well as a letter detailing motivation and interest in our work. Applicants should also provide the name and contact coordinates of two or three references.