Postdoctoral Position in Spatial Single-Cell Transcriptomics

Catholic University of Leuven Center of Human Genetics

A postdoc position is available at the Center of Human Genetics, KU Leuven, in the laboratory of Prof. Thierry Voet. Our multidisciplinary team develops and applies single-cell and spatial (multi)omics methodologies to investigate human development, ageing and disease biology. We aim to answer key biological questions with high impact and are pioneers in single-cell multi-omics measurements of the same cell, using robotics and microfluidics for automation and innovative data analysis approaches. To strengthen our Spatial Transcriptomics Platform, we are looking for a motivated postdoctoral researcher with strong engineering skills and the ambition to actively contribute to this innovative and fast-growing field. The position also frames within the recently established KU Leuven Institute for Single Cell Omics (LISCO), that nucleates interdisciplinary expertise in single-cell and spatial (multi-)omics at KU Leuven, and creates a framework for academic and industrial collaboration, service provision, and training of the next-generation of researchers. Organs function through the concerted action of individual cells in a spatially organized context. Hence, it is important that we can research these individual cells in their native spatial location. Current state-of-the art single-cell sequencing methods can already provide us with rich information on cellular heterogeneity compared to traditional bulk sequencing approaches, but as tissue dissociation is still required prior to analysis, the essential spatial context is lost. This information is not only important to understand normal organ development and function, but also to investigate how (subpopulations of) cells and cell niches are perturbed in diseased conditions like cancer or neurological disorders. Within the lab of Prof. Voet and the KU Leuven Institute of Single Cell Omics (LISCO) we are building a comprehensive spatial transcriptomics platform, where the latest technologies are being developed and implemented to allow researching single cells in various human, animal and even plant (diseased) tissue types in their native tissue context at high throughput, with potential clinical translation. You will play a key role in further developing, running and innovating this platform. Technologies currently operational or being implemented in the platform include in situ capturing technologies, such as 10x Genomics Visium, in situ sequencing technologies, such as ISS and 10x Genomics Xenium, and in situ hybridization technologies, such as HCR-FISH, Resolve Biosciences Molecular Cartography and Vizgen MERSCOPE, in addition to innovative techniques that are being developed within LISCO. In this context, we have strong interactions with teams working on spatial proteomics (Profs. Frederik De Smet and Francesca Bosisio), spatial lipidomics (Prof. Johan Swinnen), multi-omic integrative bio-informatics (Prof. Alejandro Sifirm) and microfluidics engineering (Prof. Jeroen Lammertyn), in addition to multiple other KU Leuven and VIB groups and core facilities.

Responsibilities

  • Establish and run complex molecular biology protocols for in situ single-cell imaging and sequencing
  • Handle primary human and animal model tissue, in particular brain and tumor tissue, and optimize tissue handling protocols for spatial single-cell omics
  • Co-develop automated and/or miniaturized versions of established protocols using liquid handling robotics and microfluidics platforms to improve throughput, robustness, and cost
  • Lead in the experimental design and execution of large-scale projects requiring spatial analysis and coordinate with available core facilities and computational biologists
  • Be co-responsible for the successful completion of projects and timely delivery of project milestones, help with the data interpretation and play a key role in publication of the results of team-collaborative projects
  • Generate novel ideas/concepts for biological applications and scout for novel technology developments in the context of single-cell spatial omics
  • Manage existing and develop new collaborations and relationships internal and external to KU/UZ Leuven and VIB
  • Report and communicate on progress in meetings, publish scientific articles, and participate in international conferences.

Profile

Essential knowledge, skills, and experience required:

  • MSc in Bioscience Engineering or Biomedical Sciences with a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology/Biotechnology/Genetics/Genomics, or equivalent
  • Extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of classical molecular biology techniques, including DNA/RNA/protein work
  • Experience with and a broad understanding of nucleic acid probe design, nucleic acid hybridization for in situ RNA- and/or DNA-molecule detection, and imaging via fluorescence and confocal microscopy
  • Experience with high-throughput next-generation sequencing methodologies, including barcoding strategies, library construction methods and knowledge of a wide range of platforms
  • Experience with development and implementation of sophisticated molecular biology protocols, and designing (complex/high throughput) experimental workflows
  • Advanced problem-solving skills, attention to detail and accurate working style
  • Ability to be inventive and to present novel ideas in molecular method development
  • Ability to work independently and within a group
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English
  • Evidence for productivity in a research setting such as publications, patents, etc.
Additional desirable skills and experience:
  • Experience with single-cell and spatial molecular biology work
  • Experience with high throughput assays (e.g. liquid handling robots, microfluidics).

Offer

We are offering a postdoctoral position in an intellectually challenging environment with state-of-the art facilities. KU Leuven is a research intensive, internationally oriented university that carries out both fundamental and applied scientific research. It is highly inter- and multidisciplinary focused and strives for international excellence. In this regard, it actively works together with research partners worldwide. You will work in Leuven, a historic, dynamic and lively city located in the heart of Belgium, within 20 minutes from Brussels, the capital of the European Union, and less than two hours from Paris, London and Amsterdam.

We initially offer a 2-year postdoctoral position, based on renewable contracts; we invite candidates to apply for additional (inter)national funding and fellowships.

Interested?

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Thierry Voet, mail: thierry.voet@kuleuven.be or Dr. Katy Vandereyken, mail: katy.vandereyken@kuleuven.be.

You can apply for this job no later than November 30, 2022 via the
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.
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: November 30, 2022
  • Tags: Menselijke erfelijkheid
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