10/06/2021
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

INsTRuCT: Call for applications from Early Stage Researcher for Doctoral (PhD) Training Position in Cellular Immunology

This job offer has expired


  • ORGANISATION/COMPANY
    University of Antwerp, Belgium
  • RESEARCH FIELD
    Biological sciencesBiological engineering
    Biological sciencesBiology
    EngineeringMechanical engineering
  • RESEARCHER PROFILE
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
  • APPLICATION DEADLINE
    10/07/2021 23:00 - Europe/Brussels
  • LOCATION
    Belgium › Antwerp
  • TYPE OF CONTRACT
    Temporary
  • JOB STATUS
    Full-time
  • HOURS PER WEEK
    40
  • OFFER STARTING DATE
    01/08/2021
  • EU RESEARCH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
  • MARIE CURIE GRANT AGREEMENT NUMBER
    860003

OFFER DESCRIPTION

INsTRuCT is an Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 Programme. The INsTRuCT Consortium is a research network of leading European scientists from academia and industry focused on fundamental research and clinical translation of myeloid regulatory cell (MRC)-based immunotherapies. A total of 15 doctoral research projects (PhD projects) for Early Stage Researchers (ESR) have been offered across 13 institutes in Europe. Research topics range from fundamental to translational science, all at the forefront in the field of MRC-based immunotherapies. The successful applicants will receive expert training in basic immunological research, preclinical pharmacological development, manufacturing processes, clinical trial design, healthcare economics, ethics and marketing. The interaction of biologists, computational scientists, physicians and engineers is central to INsTRuCT and will challenge ESR to explore complex issues in bench-to-bedside research from different perspectives. Graduates of INsTRuCT will be well-prepared to enter the workplace with an innovative and beyond state-of-the-art view on fundamental and translational science of cell-based therapies that will accelerate the future of the field.

Participating in INsTRuCT offers early stage researchers many unique opportunities, including:

  • A project as Marie Skłodowska Curie trainee in one of the participating institutions with the intention of receiving a doctoral degree (PhD).
  • State-of-the art, exciting research in an international consortium with highly integrated research projects.
  • Expert training in preclinical and clinical development of cell-based medicinal products.
  • At least two months of research training in the lab of another consortium member, mostly in a different EU country than the country where most of the project will take place.
  • Training in both academic and commercial research environments.
  • Salary according to EU guidelines for Marie Skłodowska Curie trainees, including mobility payments and family allowances where applicable.

Eligible candidates must:

  • hold a Master’s degree or equivalent in a field of science relevant to their chosen project (see below)
  • demonstrate a history of academic excellence
  • demonstrate an affinity for Cell Biology, Immunology, Biotechnology, Mechanical Engineering or possess equivalent qualifications
  • speak and write fluently in English
  • have less than 4 years’ previous research experience and not hold a doctoral (PhD) title
  • have not been resident in the country where the host institution is located for more than 12 months in the 3 years before recruitment.
  • be available to start their project no later than 1st August, 2021

ESR18 Development of an affordable & scalable process for tolDC manufacturing

Hosting Institution: University of Antwerp, Belgium

Supervisor Prof. COOLS, Nathalie

Email address for the applications nathalie.cools@ uantwerpen.be

Subject area: GMP Manufacturing; Quality Control; Cellular Immunology

Project-specific selection criteria: Master degree in Cell Biology, Immunology, Biotechnology, Mechanical Engineering or equivalent qualifications. Practical laboratory experience preferred.

ESR11/18

Development of an affordable & scalable process for tolDC manufacturing

Host Institution

University of Antwerp, Belgium

Primary Supervisor

Prof. COOLS, Nathalie

Email address

nathalie.cools@uantwerpen.be

Planned duration

26 months funded by the EC grant and possible extension up to 48 months depending on the availability of external funding. The selected candidate will participate in project applications, to compete for external financing for this project

Subject Area

GMP Manufacturing; Quality Control; Cellular Immunology

Introduction: Development of MRC-based products has been restricted by their cost and complexity. This is especially true when a unique batch is manufactured for each patient using labor-intensive, multiple-step processes. Successful future commercialization of cell-based, patient-specific products will require innovative solutions to unique manufacturing challenges and constraints; critically, any technological solutions will have to be affordable, reliable and not introduce new process-related risks. In this project, we aim to unlock new opportunities for the development of commercially viable and safe cell-based treatments by co-development of next generation technologies to facilitate lean, cost-effective manufacturing of MRC products, in particular tol-DC. In collaboration with Antleron, an end-to-end closed and automated cell culture system will be developed that contains all features essential for safe production of cell therapies: precise control over temperature and fluid flow, mixing and cell seeding capability, internal refrigeration, light protection, various sterile access points to verify cell differentiation, biosensors to monitor cell performance and automated computer-controlled record keeping.

Aims: A1: To identify biological factors contributing to the optimal micro-environment for MRC generation that will allow redesign of MRC manufacturing processes to ensure product consistency and quality. A2: To engineer 4D environments for MRC generation that increase process reproducibility and robustness, and optimize roll-out of MRC products to the market.

Expected Results: R1: Novel biological insights into the differentiation process of tolDC and other MRC types, such as the influence of environmenetal factors (e. g. cell density, growth surface material, pH, dissolved oxygen and shear stress) affect quality-control measures and potency of MRC-based products. This information will be invaluable for the parallel development of a scalable and automated process. R2: Development of an R&D scale proof-of-concept bioreactor-driven tolDC differentiation process with integrated up- and down-stream unit operations, and built-in quality control measures to monitor critical cell culture parameters. R3: Mapping of cost of goods in order to transition from R&D scale to an industrialized process.

Secondments: (1) An intersectoral secondment of 6 months to Antleron is planned to provide the ESR with training in cell growth micro-environments and experience in designing scale-up and scale-out procedures in GMP conditions. Aim 2 is dependent upon this secondment. (2) An international, intersectoral secondment of 2 months to CiMaas BV will provide the ESR with a market-oriented perspective of manufacturing and roll-out of MRC-based products.

Enrolment in Doctoral degree(s): University of Antwerp

Project-specific selection criteria: Master’s degree in Bio(medical) Engineering, Biotechnology, Mechanical Engineering or equivalent qualifications. Practical laboratory experience preferred

Recommended reading: [1] Willekens B, et al. Tolerogenic dendritic cell-based treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS): a harmonised study protocol for two phase I clinical trials comparing intradermal and intranodal cell administration. BMJ Open. 2019 Sep 9;9(9):e030309. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-030309. [2] Derdelinckx J, et al. Clinical and immunological control of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by tolerogenic dendritic cells loaded with MOG-encoding mRNA. J Neuroinflammation. 2019 Aug 15;16(1):167. doi: 10.1186/s12974-019-1541-1. [3] Lee WP, et al. Immunomodulatory Effects of 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D(3) on Dendritic Cells Promote Induction of T Cell Hyporesponsiveness to Myelin-Derived Antigens. J Immunol Res. 2016;2016:5392623.

More Information

Benefits

ESR will be given an employment contract for 26-month period (covered by the EC grant) and possible extension up to 48 months depending on the availability of external funding. The selected candidate will participate in project applications, to compete for external financing for this project. ESR will be entitled to full employee benefits and inclusion in social security schemes of the host nation. ESR will be compensated according to the general conditions of the EC Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions and specifically those conditions relating to ESR participating in ITN.

Eligibility criteria

Eligible applicants must :

  • hold a Master’s degree or equivalent in a field of science relevant to their chosen project (see below)
  • demonstrate a history of academic excellence
  • demonstrate an affinity for Cell Biology, Immunology, Biotechnology, Mechanical Engineering or possess equivalent qualifications
  • speak and write fluently in English
  • have less than 4 years’ previous research experience and not hold a doctoral (PhD) title

Mobility eligibility requirement: The fellow must not have resided in the country where the research training activities will take place for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the recruitment date (and not have carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in that country).

Other requirements:

  • Despite citizen of all European and Third Countries are eligible to apply for this position, we require only the application from EU countries due to VISA issues related to the nature of hosting institution.
  • be available to start their project no later than 1st August , 2021
 

Selection process

INsTRuCT will select ESR through a 2-step recruitment process. Applications (in English) should include a CV, a Letter of Motivation and a Letter of Recommendation from two appropriate referees. The closing date for applications is July 10th, 2021. Application  documents should be sent by email to Mrs. Christine Bayer, Project Administrator (christine.bayer@ukr.de) and to the relevant project supervisor Nathalie Cools nathalie.cools@uantwerpen.be

Applicants are advised to familiarise themselves thoroughly with this project. After reviewing all applications, the supervisor will contact selected applicants to organise an initial screening interview by videoconferencing. The most promising candidates will then be invited to a preferably live interview depending on the actual COVID-19 travel limitations.

 

Offer Requirements

  • REQUIRED EDUCATION LEVEL
    Biological sciences: Master Degree or equivalent
  • REQUIRED LANGUAGES
    ENGLISH: Excellent

Skills/Qualifications

Specific Requirements

Project-specific requirements are detailed for each individual project

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
University of Antwerp, Belgium
Belgium
Antwerp

EURAXESS offer ID: 650221

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