Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher position in Palaeoproteomics

This job offer has expired

    University of Bordeaux - Institute of Chemistry and Biology of Membranes and Nano-objects
    Biological sciences
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    30/06/2020 23:00 - Europe/Brussels
    France › Bordeaux
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions


One PhD position is available at the University of Bordeaux starting September 1st, 2020 as a part of the European Training Network PUSHH Palaeoproteomics to Unleash Studies on Human History funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 861389. This vacancy offers a three year, fully funded PhD on Mass Spectrometry for Palaeoproteomics (reference ESR10). You will be supervised by Prof Caroline Tokarski with cosupervision by Prof Jane Thomas-Oates.


The PUSHH ETN builds on the recent exciting advances in “palaeoproteomics”, i.e. mass spectrometry based ancient protein sequencing. PUSHH will develop new proteomic methods, optimised for ancient protein analysis, that will be applied to address outstanding evolutionary questions in human and hominoid evolution. Currently, there are very few specialists that have been trained to analyse ancient proteins, but the growing demand for information provided by palaeoproteomics will require highly qualified profiles with backgrounds in analytical chemistry, bioinformatics, palaeoanthropology and palaeontology. PUSHH will fill this advanced training gap by providing international, and intersectoral doctoral (PhD) training, for 14 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in seven different EU countries. PUSHH will guide the ESRs to develop the advanced interdisciplinary competence they need to achieve seamless integration of palaeoproteomics with the established research approaches currently used in palaeoanthropology and archaeology.

Read more about the network at: www.pushh-etn.eu

Project description

The latest generation of high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry for palaeoproteomics can reliably and rapidly detect proteins in complex mixtures, even in the very limited quantities typical of ancient samples. Workflow miniaturization and simplification of sample preparation, by integrating into a single or few step(s) different chemical treatments, have already been proven to improve recovery in the most recalcitrant ancient samples. Such approaches are contributing to minimizing the amount of starting material needed for palaeoproteomics analysis. The possibility to combine the dissociative capabilities of complementary fragmentation methods (ETD, UVPD, HCD) maximises the ability to elucidate the full complexity of the protein material, in sequence, in polymorphism and in chemical and/or post-translational modifications with unprecedented depth and accuracy. Top-down methods, adding molecular details lost when proteoforms are hydrolyzed into proteolytic peptides in bottom-up proteomics, also benefit from the recent technological gains in mass spectrometry. The ESR10 will develop new minimally invasive methods and miniaturized analytical workflow based on bottom-up and top-down approaches, to analyse trace level of proteins in palaeoanthropological and palaeontological materials and reach an exhaustive characterization of ancient material available. Digestion free top-down proteomics methods will also be investigated to remove many of the limitations hampering analysis of this category of samples. The methods will be used to identify proteins from samples with very limited amounts. Elucidation of protein polymorphism will also be studied with these minimally invasive methods in partnership with the PUSHH partners. Another application of these methods is the study protein degradation (e.g. chemical modifications, breakdown) such as the degradation of tooth enamel proteins in partnership with ESR14.

Environment and place of employment

Place of employment: The Institute of Chemistry and Biology of Membrane and NanoObjects (CBMN), UMR CNR 5248 and Proteome Platform of the University of Bordeaux.

Expertise of the laboratory team and platform: “Omics” developments based on high-end technologies applied to various fields (biology, chemistry, medicine, pharmaceutical science, plant science, environment, cultural heritage) from sample preparation to (bio)macromolecular identification, targeted/non-targeted quantitative analysis and intact protein characterization using top-down analysis. Website: https://proteome.cgfb.u-bordeaux.fr/en/proteome

Job description

- Carry out an independent research project under supervision.

- Complete PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS points.

- To document work appropriately and in accordance with research best practice.

- To prioritize tasks within an agreed work schedule to ensure that the project(s) are delivered on time. Submit the thesis by the deadline.

- Deliver scientific articles and/or book chapters in collaboration with other PUSHH ESRs and supervisors.

- Communicate your scientific activity to a broad audience (e.g. outreach activities).

- Actively attend all the mandatory network-wide PUSHH activities, which will take place in multiple locations in and outside Europe.

- Travel for a mandatory secondment period at another institution within the PUSHH consortium. Actively take part in the research projects involving multiple institutions and ESRs within the PUSHH network.

More Information

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for a PhD position in PUSHH on 1st September 2020, you must:

- be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of your research career, and have not been awarded a doctoral degree.

- have not resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the preceding three years. Compulsory national service or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.

Selection process

The following documents have to be sent by e-mail to Prof Caroline Tokarski (PhD supervisor) at the following address: Caroline.Tokarski@u-bordeaux.fr:

- Detailed CV including education, experience and skills relevant for the position.

- Cover letter (maximum 2 pages).

- Diploma and transcript of records.

- Names of two Professional References and their contact information.

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the hiring committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether their application has been passed for assessment by an unbiased assessor. Interviews are expected to be held. The assessor makes a non-prioritized assessment of the academic qualifications and experience with respect to the above-mentioned area of research, techniques, skills and other requirements listed in the advertisement.

Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements

    ENGLISH: Good



- Chemistry or biochemistry Master Degree or equivalent


- Demonstrated knowledge of analytical chemistry, including mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography techniques (theoretical and experimental)

- Knowledge of, and demonstrated experience in designing, implementing, and optimizing: (i) analytical methods for protein characterization, (ii) biochemical methodologies for sample preparation for protein analysis.

- Knowledge of tandem MS-based proteomics data generation, interpretation and statistical validation.

- Experience in detection and identification of protein residues from cultural heritage by proteomics is a valued plus.


- Ability to comfortably work in a highly interdisciplinary environment.

- Good communication skills in written and oral English is required.

- Integrity, motivation, organization, and good collaboration skills.

- Ability to develop contacts to enhance knowledge and understanding and form relationships for future collaboration.

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Institute of Chemistry and Biology of Membranes and Nano-objects / Proteome platform
146 rue Leo Saignat

EURAXESS offer ID: 527729


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