Full Funded PhD For Biological Sciences at AARHUS University
SMC-derived cells in human-like atherosclerosis: phenotypic spectrum and clonal structure
Call for applications for a fully financed PhD.
Atherosclerosis causes heart attack and stroke and is a leading health problem in most parts of the world. Research into the mechanisms that drive atherosclerotic lesion development are needed to develop more effective therapies to stop disease progression.
The host research group has recently found that atherosclerotic lesions in experimental mouse models grow by clonal expansion of a few pre-existing SMCs. During the clonal growth, these founder cells modulate into other cellular phenotypes (SMC-derived plaque cells). It remains unknown whether similar clonal growth is part of atherosclerosis in experimental models that more closely resemble human atherosclerosis. In the offered project, the PhD candidate will analyze the development of SMC-derived plaque cells and their clonal structure in gene-modified minipigs with atherosclerosis using state-of-the-art single-cell expression profiling, an X-chromo-some transgenic tag, and RNAscope in situ hybridization.
The aims of the project are the following:
1. Define major SMC-derived cell subsets in porcine atherosclerosis based on single-cell expression data and quantify their appearance and abundance during plaque evolution.
2. Validate a new technique for the analysis of the clonal structure of cell populations in pigs using a transgenic X chromosome tag.
3. Analyze the clonal structure of SMC-derived and other cell types in porcine atherosclerosis by X chromosome inactivation pattern analysis.
To meet these aims, the candidate will develop skills in immune fluorescence, in situ hybridization, fluorescence microscopy, and advanced imaging analysis. Limited experiments with gene-modified minipigs in collaboration with experienced group members are also planned.
The PhD project is funded by the European Research Council (866240, EXPLOSIA) and is carried out in the research group of professor Jacob Bentzon with assistant professor Julián Albarrán Juárez serving as co-supervisor.
The candidate will become part of a supportive, English-speaking environment for research training, and will also have the opportunity to work at the group’s lab facilities at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC) in Madrid, Spain.
For more information about the research group, please visit www.bentzonlab.org
Relevant papers from the host research group Bentzon JF, Majesky M. Cardiovasc Res. 2018; 114(4):492-500. Jacobsen K et al. JCI Insight. 2017; 2(19). pii: 95890. Al-Mashhadi RH et al. Sci Transl Med. 2013;5(166):166ra1.
Recent medical degree (MD) or master degree (MSc) in a biological discipline. High academic level documented by university transcripts Good command of written and spoken English Practical experience with standard biomedical lab work.
How to apply
Please submit your application via this link. The application deadline is 15 March 2021 23:59 CET. Preferred starting date is 1 June 2021.
For information about application requirements and mandatory attachments, please see our application guide.
Please note, for this position, it is not required to upload a project description. Please attach instead, a short synopsis (max 1 page) of the role of SMCs and SMC-derived cells in atherosclerosis based on and with references to recent scientific literature.
Please contact Professor Jacob Fog Bentzon, [email protected] for further information.
All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.Salary and terms of employment are in accordance with applicable collective agreement.