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PhD Candidate In vitro uptake/activation epithelial cells for prediction food allergy

ESR 6: PhD Candidate In vitro uptake/activation epithelial cells for prediction food allergy

Host organisation: Hemijski Fakultet, Univerzitet u Beogradu/ University of Belgrade, Faculty of Chemistry

Recruited education level: Academic, Master Degree, average mark both on bachelor and master degree above or equivalent to 8 (scale 6-10)

Position: PhD Candidate – MSCA fellow part of MSCA-DN project ALLPreT - No 101072377

Application deadline: 28 November 2022

Planned start date: May 2023

Do you want to contribute to the development of new tools for the prediction of allergenicity of novel foods and food proteins and enable the production of new and safe food for the future?

If you have knowledge within the area of allergy, immunology, biostatistics, and/or protein-chemistry as well as have experience working with in silico, in vitro or in vivo models and are looking for a PhD fellowship opportunity to put your skills into practice, you have it right here.

As part of the ALLPreT project and as our new colleague in University of Belgrade, you will be part of dynamic and highly ambitious research and innovation environments with many national and international collaborators from both academia and industries.

Project description:

Many factors seem to govern the allergenic response to food proteins including the timing (age starting to eat the food, how often the food is consumed), dose (amount of food that is consumed) and route of exposure, and the context in which the protein is recognized by the immune system. These factors are currently not incorporated in an allergenicity assessment, which might be the reason that current methods are not predictive. To shed a light on the molecular events which can clarify the initial phase in food allergy development In ESR project 6 we will develop an in vitro intestinal model to measure the effect of allergenic/non-allergenic proteins on the immune response and to identify biomarkers (integrity, transport, immunological) that can distinguish food allergens from non-allergenic proteins using immunocytochemistry, ELISA, qPCR, and LC-MS.

Responsibilities and tasks

For the ALLPreT project we seek a highly motivated life scientist/biochemist/immunologist or equivalent background to develop in vitro intestinal model to assess the effect of the legume reference set of extracts and proteins on transport/passage across the intestinal epithelium. Sensitization of epithelial cells will be measured by activation of NF-kB signaling pathway by FACS, and upregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines including alarmins by qPCR, and ELISA (e.g. IL6, IL8, and IL33). The ESR will compare in vitro models derived from intestinal cell lines and commercial intestinal model. Protein transport will be measured using LC-MS, SDS PAGE, and immunoblot. The integrity of confluent cell monolayers will be characterized by immunofluorescence detection of tight-junction proteins (claudins, occludin, ZO-1, E-cadherin) and trans-epithelial electrical resistance (TEER).

Qualifications

We are looking for a team player with the motivation and drive needed for making a difference that matters. You should have a critical mindset, be curious and eager to learn. As you will join international teams, a good command of written and spoken English is necessary.

Your CV comprises a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in molecular life sciences, immunology or a related field with the average marks on both levels of study equivalent or above 8 (scale 6-10);  as well as:

  • Preferably experience with cell culturing, FACS, ELISA, PCR, LC-MS;

According to the rules for MSCA doctoral networks, applicants should not have resided or worked in Serbia for more than 12 out of the last 36 months.

We offer

  • The position is provisional for a period of 1 year, with the prospect of extension for a further 2 years. The goal is promotion.
  • you will take part in all training, networking, and collaborative tasks offered by the ALLPreT project, which include developing technical and soft skills (organisation of meetings, grant writing, presentation for different audiences, etc.)
  • External stays, including two secondments (for a total period of 5 months) are a mandatory part of your new PhD fellowship position, where the company Mattek in Vitro Life Science Laboratories,  and Institute National de Recherche pour l´Alimentation et l´Environment (INRAE), France, will be the hosting institutes.

Terms of employment: Employment: fixed, 1 year, with prospect of extension of 2 years if functioning properly, a full time position (40h/week).Your gross salary will be in line with the Labour Law Republic of Serbia, collective labour agreement of UBFC and provisions stated in the Grant Agreement. Compensation package will comply with the MSCA-ITN programme regulations for early stage researchers which will be approximately 1960 EUR for living allowance, 600 EUR mobility allowance and if applicable family allowance of 495 EUR per month.

Your new team/ information on the organization/department:

UBFC (https://www.chem.bg.ac.rs/) is a higher education and scientific institution integrated in the international, especially European, educational and scientific environment. University of Belgrade (UB) is the oldest university in Serbia, and was ranked between 51-75 places in the field of food science and food technology in the 2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). The Center of Excellence for Molecular Food Sciences (CEMFS) at the UBFC has been established in 2014, and was awarded a center of extraordinary values status in the field of natural sciences. In addition, UBFC has a long-standing collaboration in the field of allergies with the Department of Allergology University Children Clinic in Belgrade and the Department for the production of allergens, Institute of Virology, Vaccines, and Sera “Torlak”.

For futher information: Marija Gavrović-Jankulović, mgavrov@chem.bg.ac.rs

Application procedure uitklapper, klik om te openen

Candidates can apply for a position using the 'apply now' button

Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 28 November, 2022.

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please use the apply now button, fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma (in English) including an official description of the grading scale

You may apply before obtai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

Please note, candidates can apply to max two ESR positions.

Information on the ALLPreT project

Introducing novel foods, such as insects, will strongly contribute to the security and stainability of our food supply. However, these novel foods must be safe (EU regulation 2015/2283). Allergenicity assessment is an essential part of the safety assessment of novel foods. Unfortunately, current methods to assess de novo allergenicity lack predictive power and are not validated. Consequently, food producers and risk assessors struggle with allergenicity assessment, slowing the introduction of novel foods into our food supply. Enabling the safe introduction of novel foods while protecting humans from unacceptable food allergy risks calls for a multidisciplinary approach. The ALLPreT consortium is a highly multidisciplinary group of experts from universities, research institutes, hospitals, patient organisations, and industry arising from the EU COST Action ImpARAS (Improved Allergenicity Risk Assessment Strategy). This puts them in an ideal position to consolidate their previous collaboration and establish an innovative doctoral training network in this area. The overall goal of ALLPreT is to train the next generation of scientists who can tackle the shortcomings in the current food allergy assessment of novel food products. ALLPreT will train 10 PhD students in the core aspects of food allergy risk assessment, immunology, protein chemistry, bioinformatics, in vitro/in vivo/in silico model development and complementary “soft” skills to deliver well-educated young scientists, with a unique position within the EU labour market. The PhD students will explore the new field of research on de novo sensitisation by novel foods and develop a toolbox of in vitro/in vivo/in silico allergenicity prediction tools that are scientifically sound, validated, and easily usable by industry and food safety authorities. This toolbox will contribute to fast and accurate safety assessment, thereby speeding up safety approval and market uptake of novel foods. Read more at www.AllPreT.eu novel foods, such as insects, will strongly contribute to the security and stainability of our food supply. However, these novel foods must be safe (EU regulation 2015/2283). Allergenicity assessment is an essential part of the safety assessment of novel foods. Unfortunately, current methods to assess de novo allergenicity lack predictive power and are not validated. Consequently, food producers and risk assessors struggle with allergenicity assessment, slowing the introduction of novel foods into our food supply. Enabling the safe introduction of novel foods while protecting humans from unacceptable food allergy risks calls for a multidisciplinary approach. The ALLPreT consortium is a highly multidisciplinary group of experts from universities, research institutes, hospitals, patient organisations, and industry arising from the EU COST Action ImpARAS (Improved Allergenicity Risk Assessment Strategy). This puts them in an ideal position to consolidate their previous collaboration and establish an innovative doctoral training network in this area. The overall goal of ALLPreT is to train the next generation of scientists who can tackle the shortcomings in the current food allergy assessment of novel food products. ALLPreT will train 10 PhD students in the core aspects of food allergy risk assessment, immunology, protein chemistry, bioinformatics, in vitro/in vivo/in silico model development and complementary “soft” skills to deliver well-educated young scientists, with a unique position within the EU labour market. The PhD students will explore the new field of research on de novo sensitisation by novel foods and develop a toolbox of in vitro/in vivo/in silico allergenicity prediction tools that are scientifically sound, validated, and easily usable by industry and food safety authorities. This toolbox will contribute to fast and accurate safety assessment, thereby speeding up safety approval and market uptake of novel foods. Read more at www.AllPreT.eu

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For more information contact: ALLPreT@UMCUtrecht.nl