One of the outstanding complications related to operative fixation of long bone fractures is fracture non-union. Non-unions may have multiple causes, including both mechanical and biological factors, although much remains to be understood on the precise mechanisms involved.
A better understanding of the processes involved in non-unions may be provided by modern techniques such as single cell sequencing and spatial transcriptomics. Novel spatial transcriptomics technologies enable the mapping and visualization of the whole transcriptome on histological tissue sections, with the potential to capture the local molecular mechanisms underlying impaired healing. In addition, single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) will be applied to provide understanding of the compromised regenerative processes at single cell resolution.
Customized small animal implant fixation systems are available that allow controlled mechanical conditions across a fracture (e.g. conditions that lead to non-union, with or without underlying biological factors such as diabetes or infection). These novel models are ideal for application of the single cell sequencing and spatial transcriptomics.
Within this context, we are looking for an outstanding PhD student to join our team for 4 years.
The successful applicant will be working within a multidisciplinary team including access to the expertise and facilities at ARI for spatial transcriptomics, histology, biomechanics, cell biology, microbiology and preclinical in vivo studies. In addition, Prof. Liesbet Geris, Research Professor in Biomechanics and Computational Tissue Engineering at the KU Leuven in Belgium will be co-supervisor of the PhD project and actively involved in supervision with a particular focus on scRNA-sequencing and inclusion in the in-house skeletal cell atlas.
Core expertise will be provided by ARI and KU Leuven supervisors.
The PhD candidate will be enrolled at the KU Leuven Biomedical Doctoral School (the final PhD degree will be awarded by KU Leuven) and regular exchange visits between both locations will be expected, although primary location of work is Davos, Switzerland. Training and technical support will be provided, although prior experience with some of the mentioned technologies is an advantage.
- Master Degree in cell or biomedical engineering, biology, microbiology, veterinary medicine or related field
- Previous experience in cell culture and laboratory techniques (e.g. histology, confocal microscopy, molecular biology, microbiology)
- Experience in planning and executing research experiments
- Excellent communication skills in English (written and oral)
- Ability to solve complex tasks in a highly independent manner along with a willing-to-help attitude
- Present good adaptation and integration skills in a cross-cultural/interdisciplinary environment
- High motivation and passion for research
- Plan and conduct in vivo experiments with the full support of veterinary surgeons
- Establish and utilize cellular and molecular methods for musculoskeletal tissue
- Apply spatial transcriptomics on in vivo study biopsies based on existing protocols
- Apply scRNA-seq on in vivo study biopsies based on existing protocols.
Working for us, you can expect:
- An interesting and varied job in an exciting and innovative organization
- The opportunity to be part of a highly committed international team
- Modern infrastructure
- Employment conditions which match the requirements and offer a high degree of flexibility regarding working hours and location