Postdoctoral Scientist in Epigenetics of Cartilage and Osteoarthritis

Catholic University of Leuven

The laboratory for Tissue Homeostasis and Disease directed by Prof. Rik Lories and Prof. Silvia Monteagudo within the Skeletal Biology and Engineering Research Centre (KU Leuven) is seeking a postdoctoral candidate for advanced epigenetic analyses of healthy and osteoarthritic cartilage. We are an international, young and dynamic team of researchers performing cutting-edge molecular biology research in articular cartilage and osteoarthritis, the most common chronic joint disease worldwide. We exploit mouse models, genetic engineering, primary human cells and tissues from healthy and osteoarthritic joints, and multi-omics technologies to gain groundbreaking insights into the mechanisms that control joint homeostasis and disease. We have longstanding expertise in studies on the molecular identity of the articular chondrocyte and the key regulatory mechanisms that sustain joint homeostasis and prevent osteoarthritis. Our work is published in high-profile journals such as Nature Communications, Science Translational Medicine, PNAS and Nature Reviews Rheumatology. We have strong international recognition. Selected publications 1. Monteagudo S., Cornelis F. M. F., Aznar-Lopez C., Yibmantasiri P., Guns L-A., Carmeliet P., Cailotto F., Lories R.J. DOT1L safeguards cartilage homeostasis and protects against osteoarthritis. Nature Communications, 2017, 8, 15889. 2. Cornelis F.M.F., Monteagudo S., Guns L-A, den Hollander W., Peeters T., Storms L., Meulenbelt I., Lories R.J. ANP32A regulates ATM expression and prevents oxidative stress in cartilage, brain and bone. Science Translational Medicine, 2018, 10, eaar8426. 3. Monteagudo S. & Lories R.J. Cushioning the joint: a Wnt restricting matter. Nature Reviews Rheumatology, 2017, 11, 670-681. The Skeletal Biology and Engineering (SBE) Research Centre, located on the Campus Gasthuisberg of the University of Leuven, contributes to a better understanding of the biology that underlies musculoskeletal diseases with the ultimate goal to develop more effective and specific therapies. The SBE is currently composed of more than 60 scientists in 4 independent research groups. We foster close collaborations with in silico modelling and with tissue engineering experts, thereby establishing a strong multidisciplinary environment.


There is accumulating evidence that epigenetic mechanisms,in particular histone modifications, are key to cartilage health and disease.To make further progress and to identify novel therapeutic targets, detailed analyses of histone modification dynamics at the single cell level seem to be necessary.The selected candidate will become a central part of our team and be expected to advance single cell epigenetic analyses. In your role as a postdoctoral scientist, you will focus on histone modifications and connect these with specific molecular signaling pathways that play a key role in the articular chondrocyte,such as the Wnt signaling.  You will integrate cell data with data of in vivo models to ensure (pre)-clinical translation of the functional findings. Our research lines have a strong translational potential for patients with chronic joint disease such as osteoarthritis, as current therapies are clearly not effective for the majority of the patients.

You will be expected to develop leadership in this area and integrate the findings of your work with the rest of the team. We look for candidates with good communication skills, a highly collaborative spirit and willingness to work in collaboration with different teams and clinicians.


You need to hold a PhD within a topic in biomedicalsciences and have strong molecular biology skills.

You should be able to demonstrate knowledge of complexanalyses preferably at the single cell level or with omic technologies.

Having successfully applied state-of-the-art genetic engineering technologies (such as CRISPR/CAS9), molecular biology techniques including but not limited to western blot, qPCR,FACS, immunohistochemistry (IHC) and cell culture techniques is a plus.

You should also have:

  • A proven and successful publication track record.
  • High intrinsic motivation and a strong scientific curiosity.
  • Ability to organize and troubleshoot your work independently, document it thoroughly and communicate results and experience with the team in a transparent and professional manner.
  • Ability to be inventive and to present novel ideas in method development, data analysis and interpretation.
  • Willingness to collaborate within the team and other research groups.
  • Excellent oral and written English communication skills.
  • Proactive, flexible, and problem-solving attitude.
  • Experience in working with deadlines and being involved in multiple projects.
  • Ability to provide advice and guidance to PhD students or master students.
  • An aim for high impact and for taking the scientific and experimental lead on a challenging project.


We offer:

  • A full-time postdoctoral contract for one yearwith the possibility to extend (at least) 2 more years thereafter. The position is immediately available. You are stimulated to apply for a postdoctoral fellowship
  • The opportunity to work on a high impact, beyond state-of-the-art project with experienced mentors in a successful team. 
  • A stimulating international, multidisciplinary and dynamic research environment where quality, professionalism and team spirit are encouraged.
  • The opportunity to interact with a large international network to further develop your skills.


KU Leuven is one of the most innovative universities in Europe. Leuven is located 20 min. from Brussels, in the center of Europe, 15 minutes away from Brussels airport by direct train connection.

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Silvia Monteagudo, mail: or Prof. dr. Rik Lories, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than May 31st via the online application tool.

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

You can apply for this job no later than May 31, 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
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: May 31, 2022
  • Tags: Ontwikkeling en Regeneratie
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