Doctoral fellow Department of Translational Physiology, Infectiology and Public Health

WorkplaceFlemish Region, Ghent, Belgium
Last application date May 31, 2024 00:00 Department DI04 - Department of Translational Physiology, Infectiology and Public Health Contract Limited duration Degree o Master’s degree in engineering (bioscience engineering, civil engineering (chemistry), or equivalent) or health sciences (pharmaceutical sciences, biomedical sciences, (veterinary) medicine, or equivalent) by August 1, 2024. Occupancy rate 100% Vacancy type Research staff

Job description

The Laboratory for Integrative Metabolomics (LIMET) at Ghent University, part of the Department of Translational Physiology, Infectiology, and Public Health (DI04), has a full-time position (1+3 years) available for a doctoral student within the framework of the MeMoSA research project. This project is funded by the European Research Council (ERC).

The global and increasing prevalence of pediatric obesity constitutes a serious public health problem. This pandemic is the result of changes in lifestyle, dietary patterns, and physical activity. Due to the multifactorial nature of the condition, treatment is also complicated, as each patient requires a unique approach. Additionally, obesity has significant health consequences, with increased risks of serious conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and certain forms of cancer, as well as psychological and social implications for the child. Metabolomics plays an important role in obesity research, particularly in unraveling complex metabolic processes in the body. This scientific approach enables researchers to study changes in small molecules, known as metabolites, using advanced analytical techniques including mass spectrometry.

Despite the enormous potential of conventional metabolomics in understanding underlying disease processes, this technique, due to its complexity, appears less suitable as a point-of-care application in the treatment of obesity. This is where Laser-Assisted Evaporative Ionization Mass Spectrometry (LA-REIMS) comes into play as an excellent alternative. LA-REIMS enables rapid and accurate measurements of metabolic profiles, without the need for extensive sample preparation and data processing. Furthermore, the combination with our innovative MetaSAMP, a patented custom electrospun sampling membrane, not only provides a stabilizing substrate for the biofluid but also increases the richness and intensity of its metabolic fingerprints. This approach thus facilitates a rapid identification of the main causes and treatment options for the individual patient.

Your practical research assignment consists of conducting scientific research in preparation for a doctorate within the MeMoSA project. The practical research tasks include:

Further elaborating and optimizing our current MetaSAMP technology

Developing and optimizing a new LA-REIMS method, including ion mobility

Sampling and analysis using the newly developed MetaSAMP and LA-REIMS methods

Improving the identification of metabolites using LA-REIMS

Supporting the implementation of an intervention study in adolescents with obesity

Writing up research results in high-quality scientific journals

Presenting your research at national and international symposia

Job profile

Master’s degree in engineering (bioscience engineering, civil engineering (chemistry), or equivalent) or health sciences (pharmaceutical sciences, biomedical sciences, (veterinary) medicine, or equivalent) by August 1, 2024.

Strong motivation for high-quality scientific research with the aim of obtaining a doctorate.

Ability to function well in an (international) team, as well as to work and plan independently.

Vivid interest in metabolomics, mass spectrometry, and biomedical research.

Good analytical and statistical skills. Experience with statistical software packages (R and/or Python) is desirable, or willingness to further develop these skills.

Fluent command of scientific English, both orally and in writing.

Basic knowledge of (analytical) chemistry, with a general interest in life sciences, and willingness to expand knowledge if necessary.

Experience with electrospinning or polymer synthesis is a plus.

How to apply

Applications, including a motivation letter and comprehensive Curriculum Vitae (including academic records), should be submitted to Prof. Lynn Vanhaecke ( ) by May 31, 2024. More information about the vacancy can be obtained via the above email address or by phone (09/2647457). After a preselection based on the CV, selected candidates will be invited for an interview. Full-time contract preferably starting between August 1 and October 1, 2024 (to be discussed).

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In your application, please refer to and reference JobID 6653.