Study of NK Cell Biology in Immune-Inflammatory Disorders in Mice and Human

Catholic University of Leuven Kulak



The laboratory of Immunobiology (Faculty of Medicine, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Transplantation, Rega Institute) studies the biology of inflammatory processes observed in autoimmunity and autoinflammation, and in infections and cancer. We aim to gain insight into the pathogenesis of these immune-inflammatory disorders by using translational and clinical research.
Our research group is looking for a motivated PhD student to join our dynamic team and to start a doctoral thesis. The PhD work fits in a research project that studies the biology of natural killer (NK) cells in mouse and human. NK cells have traditionally been seen as essential non-specific eliminators of cancerous and virus-infected cells. More recently it became clear that NK cells have more sophisticated biological functions than originally thought. For example subsets of NK cells that reside in tissue can mount a form of antigen-specific memory response. The goal of the project is to study these novel aspects of NK cells in immune-inflammatory disorders. For this purpose we will use several in vitro techniques and appropriate mouse models. Through our excellent collaborations with the UZ Leuven hospital we have the opportunity to validate our findings by using blood cells from patients. 
Techniques: a variety of immunological state of the art techniques will be used with a strong translational component in which both mouse models and human samples will be studied. The PhD student will perform single-cell assays, including multicolor flow cytometry, single-cell FACS-sorting, live cell imaging, high resolution microscopy and RNA Seq. The project also involves cytotoxicity assays, protein assays and qPCR. 
The candidate must hold a master’s degree in the field of Biomedical Sciences, Bioscience Engineering, Science (Biology and Biochemistry), Pharmaceutical Sciences, Medicine, or a related training. Candidates should have good study results and good writing and communications skills. A felasa b certificate is required to work with mice. The PhD candidate is expected to plan, execute, and analyse experiments in an independent manner and is also willing to help colleagues and contribute scientifically to the team.
The group of Prof. P. Matthys is embedded in the 'Immunity and Inflammation' unit located at the new Rega institute at Gasthuisberg and UZ Leuven. The work is performed in close collaboration with the different PI's of the research unit and by using joint infrastructure and equipment. We pay a lot of attention to guide our PhD students and for this we have (joint) lab meetings on a weekly basis and an excellent doctoral school program. Although the PhD fits into a funded project, the PhD student is encouraged and invited to apply for a fellowship.The PhD starts in September or October 2019. 
Candidates should apply online (CV and motivation letter) before August 15, 2019.
For more information, please contact Prof. P. Matthys (  
You can apply for this job no later than August 15, 2019 via the online application tool
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