Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (KU Leuven)

Investigation of a novel glycerol biosynthesis pathway in Candida albicans

 
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WorkplaceLeuven, Flemish Region, Belgium
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Position

Description

Investigation of a novel glycerol biosynthesis pathway in Candida albicans

A PhD position for a highly motivated microbiologist interested in human fungal pathogens

The main research topic in the lab is human fungal pathogens with a focus on Candida species. Also the interaction with bacteria and the host are investigated. The main objective of this project is to demonstrate a novel pathway for glycerol biosynthesis in the human fungal pathogen C. albicans and to show the contribution of this glycerol pathway for biofilm formation and virulence. Over recent years, it became clear that the accumulation of glycerol contributes to the virulence of this pathogen. First of all, its role as osmolyte contributes to the turgor that is required in hyphae to penetrate tissues. Also during biofilm formation glycerol and trehalose biosynthesis pathways are important. The classical pathway for glycerol biosynthesis is the one where glucose is converted to DHAP in glycolysis and this triose-P sugar is then converted into glycerol via the intermediate molecule glycerol-3P. However, the expression pattern of glycerol biosynthesis enzymes does not completely match the glycerol content during biofilm formation. Recently, we characterized enzymes (in S. cerevisiae) involved in an alternative pathway for the production of glycerol where DHAP is first dephosphorylated to DHA, which is then converted to glycerol. This putative pathway has been mentioned in textbooks for over 20 years but the enzymes involved where not known. In S. cerevisiae, we have now strong data that the newly characterized enzymes are the specific phosphatases for DHAP. As glycerol is such an important molecule for virulence, in this project we want to understand the role of this new pathway for virulence of the human fungal pathogen C. albicans (an possibly also in other Candida species). As part of this project we aim to understand the metabolic connection between glycerol and trehalose metabolism as we have observed a genetic interaction between the two pathways in S. cerevisiae.

The Laboratory of Molecular Cell Biology is part of the department of Biology of KU Leuven. The lab is also part of the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology. You will be a PhD candidate in the group where there are on average about 12-14 PhD candidates, two to three postdocs and three technicians. You will also be supported by ICT and administrative personnel. This is an international group, so the language in the lab is English.

The Laboratory of Molecular Cell Biology is part of the department of Biology of KU Leuven. The lab is also part of the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology. You will be a PhD candidate in the group where there are on average about 12-14 PhD candidates, two to three postdocs and three technicians. You will also be supported by ICT and administrative personnel. This is an international group, so the language in the lab is English.
  • You recently obtained your masters degree in Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Biology, Bioscience Engineering, Biomedical sciences or similar studies with high scores.
  • You preferentially have experience in microbiology, especially with human fungal pathogens
  • You have strong molecular biology background with hands-on expertise in cloning, transformations, preferentially CRISPR-cas9, 
  • You can work with various relevant software packages and have strong background in statistical analysis of biological data

    KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR kuleuven.be.

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In your application, please refer to myScience.be and reference JobID 3378.


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