Join our group with a Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship!

Join our group with a Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship!

4 Aug 2022

The Nanosfun group is hiring a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher for applying to a Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship.

The mission of the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) is to achieve the highest level of scientific and technological excellence in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. Its research lines focus on the newly-discovered physical and chemical properties that arise from the behavior of matter at the nanoscale. ICN2 has been awarded with the Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence distinction for two consecutive periods (2014-2018 and 2018-2022). ICN2 comprises 19 research groups, 7 technical development and support units and facilities, and 2 research platforms, covering different areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Please note that this is not a job offer. This is a call for expressions of interest from excellent postdoctoral researchers to apply for a Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship with ICN2 as host institution. The process involves developing a joint application between candidate and host institution.

DESCRIPTION OF HOST RESEARCH GROUP

Nanosfun is aimed to develop novel (supra)molecular and polymeric functional nanomaterials with application in Health and Environment. Specifically, 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.

DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH PROJECT / TOPIC

Research area: Medicine, Health, Chemistry, Materials
Project topic: Mussel-inspired bioadhesive membranes for 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. 

The Postdoctoral researcher will have research freedom and the Project proposal will be designed together with the research group. 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. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of this Postdoctoral position, ranging from chemical synthesis, characterization of new materials to their final application in medicine, the Postdoctoral fellow will acquire excellent knowledge and skills that will complete his/her research formation, incentivizing his/her future career.


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 preclinical and 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).
  • In vitro and in vivo assays using different cell lines and animal models to validate the efficiency of the developed materials.
  • 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 required:

Education

  • PhD in biochemistry, materials science, chemistry, or equivalent.

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 topic.

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.

CONTACT

Candidates may contact dani.ruiz@icn2.cat and salvio.suarez@icn2.cat if interested in this opportunity.

Please send the following documents / information:

  • CV (max. 4 pages)
  • Letter of motivation
  • Two referees

Please note that this is not a job offer. The process involves developing a joint application between candidate and host institution. Note also the following basic eligibility requirements established for these fellowships by the European Commission:

  • Candidates must be in possession of their PhD at call deadline
  • Candidates should have no more than 8 years’ research experience after their PhD
  • Candidates must comply with the mobility rule, i.e. they must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Spain for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the call deadline.

For full details on eligibility, please see Annex 2 of Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021-2022.