Postdoctoral Fellow on Systems Medicine (ref. PD/22/37)
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 28 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 (https://sbnb.irbbarcelona.org), led by Dr. Patrick Aloy, to work on Personalized Systems Medicine.
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. The urge to couple chemical and biological data to cutting-edge machine learning has prompted us to develop new strategies for data integration and knowledge representation, especially in the form of heterogeneous networks and vector-like descriptors. In particular, we generated the Chemical Checker, which is currently the largest repository of small molecule bioactivity signatures (Duran-Frigola et al. 2020 Nat Biotechnol; Bertoni et al. 2021 Nat Commun). To complement it, we created the Bioteque, a repository of context-dependent biological signatures based on a gigantic knowledge graph representing most currently known biology (Fernández-Torras et al. 2022 Nature Commun). This common vector format to represent biology and chemistry helps blending the two worlds. 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. For instance, we have discovered compounds able to revert AD signatures in vitro and in vivo, neutralizing the cognition deficiencies in AD mouse models (Pauls et al. 2021 Genome Med). We now aim at finding compounds to globally modulate the activity of a specific set of targets, selected from the SARS-CoV-2 – Human contactome (Kim et al. 2022 Nat Biotecnol) derived in the frame of the European RiPCoN project (ref: 101003633). All in all, the incorporation of high-content biological and chemical descriptors to the drug discovery process will trigger the identification of novel compounds, finally enabling systems precision medicine.
This contract is funded by the project: 'Rapid interaction profiling of 2019-nCoV for networkbased deep drug-repurpose learning (DDRL)' (RiPCoN), funded by the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 European Union Research and Innovation Program. Reference: 101003633
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.
EXPERIENCE, KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS:
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.
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-throughput approaches.
Positive organizational, problem solving and communication skills.
Experience: Previous experience working on cancer cell lines and animal models.
WORKING CONDITIONS & ENTITLEMENTS:
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.
Estimated annual gross salary: Salary commensurate with experience and qualifications.
International environment: Nearly 90 Postdoctoral researchers (more than a half non-Spanish nationals) are currently working at IRB Barcelona.
HOW TO APPLY & SELECTION PROCESS:
Deadline for applications: 14/01/2023 (If no suitable candidate is found, the deadline will be extended)
Number of positions available: 1
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.