Postdoctoral Fellow on Molecular/Cell Biology (ref. PD/20/27)

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Created in 2005 by the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia) and the University of Barcelona, IRB Barcelona is a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence—a seal that was awarded in 2011.

The institute is devoted to conducting research of excellence in biomedicine and to transferring results to clinical practice, thus improving people’s quality of life, while simultaneously promoting the training of outstanding researchers, technology transfer, and public communication of science. Its 27 laboratories and seven core facilities address basic questions in biology and are orientated to diseases such as cancer, metastasis, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and rare conditions.

IRB Barcelona is an international centre that hosts 400 members and 30 nationalities. It is located in the Barcelona Science Park. IRB Barcelona forms part of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) and the “Xarxa de Centres de Recerca de Catalunya” (CERCA).

IRB Barcelona is seeking a talented and highly motivated Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Structural Bioinformatics and Network Biology group (, led by Dr. Patrick Aloy, to work on Personalized Systems Medicine.

The selected candidate will work on the project “Cluster Emergente del Cerebro Humano” (CECH).  The CECH project -file number 001-P-001682 is co-financed by the European Union Regional Development Fund within the framework of the ERDF Operational Program of Catalonia 2014-2020 with a grant of 50% of total cost eligible with the support of Generalitat de Catalonia".

Large-scale small molecule bioactivity data are not routinely integrated in daily biological research to the extent of other ‘omics’ information. Compound data are scattered and diverse, making them inaccessible to most researchers and not suited to standard statistical analyses. We recently developed the Chemical Checker (CC), a resource that provides processed, harmonized and integrated bioactivity data on small molecules (Duran-Frigola et al. 2020 Nat Biotechnol; Bertoni et al. 2020 bioRxiv). The CC divides data into five levels of increasing complexity, ranging from the chemical properties of compounds to their clinical outcomes. In between, it considers targets, off-targets, perturbed biological networks and several cell-based assays such as gene expression, growth inhibition and morphological profiles. In the CC, bioactivity data are expressed in a vector format, which naturally extends the notion of chemical similarity between compounds to similarities between bioactivity signatures of different kinds. We showed how CC signatures can boost the performance of drug discovery tasks that typically capitalize on chemical descriptors, and we demonstrated and experimentally validated that CC signatures can be used to reverse and mimic biological signatures of disease models and genetic perturbations, options that are otherwise impossible using chemical information alone. We are now developing a generalized connectivity mapping, as a form of virtual phenotypic screening, to discover novel chemical or genetic modulators able to revert the specific signatures of disease and ‘cancel out’ the phenotypic traits of complex disorders.





The successful candidate will work in a very collaborative environment, and he/she will be responsible for the experimental validation of the mechanistic hypotheses, generated in the lab, on the molecular routes that need to be active/inactive in a given complex pathological state for its onset and progression. In addition, he/she will also help to design and validate a systems pharmacology approach, based on concerted multi-target perturbations, able to modify the biology of the diseases and stop their advance.


Must Have – Required: 

  • Education: Bachelor in Biosciences. PhD in Pharmacology, Molecular or Cell biology.
  • Experience: previous experience in working with complex diseases, including molecular and cellular models. Strong publications record according to his/her career stage.
  • Skills:
  • Experience with standard biochemistry, molecular and cell biology techniques.
  • Experience in CRISPR-Cas9, RNAi, target validation and drug screening.
  • Knowledge of `omics technologies and high-throughout approaches.
  • Positive organizational, problem solving and communication skills.


  • Experience: Previous experience working on cancer cell lines and animal models.


  • Working conditions: Employed in compliance with Spanish legislation and regulations under a full-time contract. Employees receive the benefits of the Spanish Social Security system covering sickness, maternity/paternity leaves and injuries at work.
  • Training and Career: Postdoctoral researchers joining IRB Barcelona gain access to the Institute’s advanced research training and career development opportunities, all within in a competitive international environment. Courses and workshops on themes of particular interest to postdocs are offered regularly by the Institute.
  • International environment: Nearly 90 Postdoctoral researchers (more than a half non-Spanish nationals) are currently working at IRB Barcelona.




  • Deadline for applications: 15/01/2021 (If no suitable candidate is found, the deadline will be extended) 
  • Number of positions available: 1
  • Selection process:
    • Pre-selection: Will be based on CV, motivation letter, experience, management of research and innovation. 
    • Interviews: Short-listed candidates will be interviewed.
    • Job offer: Will be sent to the successful candidate after the interview. 

Note: The strengths and weaknesses of the applications will be provided upon request.

'If you, as an applicant, have any suggestion or wish to make a complaint regarding the selection process, please contact us at the following email address: You will receive a response within a month.'


Or, know someone who would be a perfect fit? Let them know!


IRB Barcelona - Institute for Research in Biomedicine
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