Join our group with a Juan de la Cierva fellowship!

Join our group with a Juan de la Cierva fellowship!

13 Jan 2022

The Nanosfun group is hiring a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher for applying to a 2-year Juan de la Cierva-formación 2021 fellowship offered by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.

One of our main research lines is the design and fabrication of nanomaterials for tissue regeneration, which has become one of the main branches of medicine aiming to solve a multitude of pathologies caused by irreversible tissue degeneration. Nowadays, there is a blooming of interest with several international initiatives in the area as well as several scientific publications. However, in many cases, their transfer to the clinic is hampered (high cost of production, toxicity and low regenerative activity). For this reason, the development of new materials with outstanding features is a pressing concern. In this scenario, bioinspired materials have emerged as potential candidates. Specifically, materials based on catechol molecules, present in various living organisms (e.g., mussels), have demonstrated unprecedented adhesive properties under wet conditions, biocompatibility, low toxicity and low cost/scalable processes. These excellent features turn bioinspired catechol-based materials unique for their use in tissue regeneration.

The Nanosfun group has recently filed a patent on catechol-based membranes with outstanding regenerative properties, which can be applied as a ready-to-use patch directly to the damaged tissue to be repaired. We have successfully tested and validated our approach in different tissues, mainly in cartilage and skin, and we envision exploring their application in other tissues and pathologies (e.g., neuronal stimulation and regeneration, heart and bone tissue, among others). The group is upfront in terms of publications in the area (being submitted nowadays) as well in nanomedicine, research facilities and collaborations with other national and international research groups. Moreover, we believe in the benefits of transversal research and to get our fundamental investigation as close as possible to market devices, which is why we strongly collaborate with different hospitals and medical companies.


Precisely, the objective is to generate catechol-based membranes and other structures (e.g., hydrogels) that support and guide cell growth for its transfer to damaged tissue and promotes its efficient regeneration. In addition to the fabrication of the materials, the Postdoctoral researcher will be actively involved in exploring functionalization with active molecules and in vitro and in vivo validation of the resulting materials. Nanosfun is investing many efforts in establishing a network with different research groups and hospitals. Among others, Nanosfun collaborates closely with the Neuroscience Institute (INc-UAB), Institute of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (IBB-UAB) and the Veterinary Faculty of the UAB with strong expertise in different biomedical areas. At the hospital level, collaboration has been established with the University of Medicine of Vienna, Sant Joan de Deu, Vall d’Hebron and Bellvitge hospitals, among others. This growing network environment allows for almost covering all the necessary needs to validate the developed technologies, pursuing their clinical translation, ensuring the acquisition of excellent knowledge and skills that will complete his/her research formation, incentivizing his/her future career.


A part of the aforementioned training and opportunities offered directly by the group, the Postdoctoral researcher will benefit from the affiliation to the ICN2 and its excellent personalized career development plan, which involves a) organizational skills; b) technology transfer; c) english and local languages and d) general scientific training “Open Knowledge Sessions.” Besides, the ICN2 as a member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) also offers specialized training in leadership and entrepreneurial skills and technology transfer, such as industrial and intellectual property, industrial collaborations, spin-off development, and other related subjects.

ICN2 and Nanosfun, counts with an important number of active collaboration R&D with local and international companies and research institutions. We are also closely associated with major research hospitals in the Barcelona area. The Postdoctoral fellow will be encouraged to undertake visits and short-term stays with these partners whenever relevant to their field of research. ICN2 offers an internationally renowned, attractive research environment, complemented by a range of training activities that will help highly qualified young scientists to develop the skills necessary for a successful career. The high interdisciplinary nature of Nanosfun makes it an excellent setting for fellows to access an extensive offer of scientific seminars, courses and workshops.


Main Tasks and responsibilities:

The Postdoctoral researcher will contribute to the scientific programme and management of the Tissue Regeneration research line. The work will involve the synthesis, modification, characterization and validation of catechol-based membranes for tissue regeneration. Special emphasis will be applied to the study of the interaction with different biological entities, cells and tissues to assess its clinical viability. The Postdoctoral researcher should be able to perform such experimental work alone or in collaboration with partner laboratories to develop novel catechol-based materials with demonstrated biocompatibility and offering added functionalities. Expert use of a chemical synthesis laboratory and a wide range of physicochemical and materials characterization techniques (AFM, TGA, DLS, spectrophotometry, electron, optical and fluorescence microscopy, ICP-MS, XPS) will be essential to determine the mechanisms and impact of the interaction between the developed materials and cellular models and in vivo tissues.
Principal responsibilities:

  • Through interaction with the PI and other members of the Nanosfun Group to contribute proactively to the development, progression and execution of the project.
  • Synthesis, functionalization, and characterization of various catechol-based materials.
  • Covalent and non-covalent functionalization with biologically active molecules (small molecules, proteins, peptides, etc.).
  • Use of chemical synthesis tools and protocols to surface-modify the developed materials.
  • Use a range of physicochemical and materials characterization techniques (TGA, DLS, spectrophotometry, electron, optical and fluorescence microscopy, ICP-MS, XPS, HPLC).
  • Execution of experiments using different core facilities at the Campus UAB and collaborating institutions.
  • Training and supervision of students and researchers working on the same research line.
  • Contribution to the scientific management of the collaborative project (authoring periodic reports, presentations in meetings, participation in congresses, publication of articles) that will require overseas travel.

Education, Experience, Knowledge and Competences:

Education

  • PhD in biochemistry, materials science, chemistry, or equivalent.
  • Specific Grant requirements: PhD title between 1/1/20 and 31/12/21

Experience

  • Previous hands-on research experience in handling and studying the biological investigation of materials with biological matter (proteins, cells, tissues).
  • Experience in culturing mammalian cells.
  • Experience with extraction and culture of primary cells and their culturing protocols.
  • Excellent research and methodological skills relevant to the research theme.

Competences required:

  • Excellent organizational and time-management skills, including the ability to deliver timely and high-quality outputs.
  • Ability to demonstrate scientific writing and communication skills.
  • Ability to be creative in research ideas to develop/progress the research area.
  • Ability to plan, organize, and undertake work without detailed supervision.
  • Ability to develop effective working relationships with all levels of staff, students and external contacts.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Ability to work effectively in a multidisciplinary team.
  • Ability to work independently, use own initiative, where appropriate, and be proactive in approach to work.
  • Ability and enthusiasm to learn new skills outside own discipline.

Desirable:

  • Experience in the chemical synthesis and modification of organic materials.
  • Experience in use of an array of physicochemical and materials characterization tools (DLS, spectrophotometry, electron, optical and fluorescence microscopy, HPLC).
  • Previous experience of applying for research funding.
  • Experience in supervising student research projects.
  • Evidence of a developing track record in publishing and disseminating high-quality publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Key Dates:

  • Expression of interest: please contact dani.ruiz@icn2.cat before 20/01/2022
  • Application: From 20/01/2022 to 03/02/2022
  • Incorporation: tentatively planned for September