Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (IF) - Postdoc Position: “Neuroinflammation in neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases”

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    14/09/2017 20:30 - Europe/Brussels
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
    Spain, Madrid
    CEU Universities
    Pharmacy Faculty

Inflammation is a key event in the healing process of the damaged tissue and activation of the innate immune system is fundamental in the response to inflammation. When prolonged, however, inflammation can become deleterious. Within the Central Nervous System (CNS), the two main players in neuroinflammation are glial cells: microglia, the resident macrophages in the CNS, and astrocytes. Toll-like receptors (TLRs), which are expressed in the rodent microglia and astrocytes, are key molecules in the activation of innate immunity during CNS damage. Activation of TLRs triggers the downstream stimulation of nuclear factor-κB (NFκB) and the induction of genes that encode inflammation-associated molecules and cytokines.

Ever-growing evidence point to a key role of inflammatory processes in a broad spectrum of diseases including traumatic brain injury, chronic neurodegenerative diseases, neuropathic pain, ischemia and neuropsychiatric disorders including drug addiction, suggesting that a common pathogenic mechanism underlying all these diseases is neuroinflammation.


CEU is looking for a highly motivated candidate to apply for MSCA-IF-2017 calls, the research line in which the MSCA Fellow will be involved is devoted to the search and validation of new biomarkers and to the development of new drugs that could modulate the inflammatory processes underlying these and other diseases of the CNS. Together with the selected candidate a proposal will be written and submitted. The involvement of the selected candidate in the proposal writing process will provide ample opportunity to tailor the proposal to her / his research interests. A successful application will result in an appointment under approved conditions.

Prof. Gonzalo Herradón leads a Pharmacology group at the Pharmacy Faculty (Universidad San Pablo CEU). In addition to Dr. Herradón, there are 8 researchers, permanent teaching/research staff and up to 8 members, including postdocs and PhD students collaborating in the competitive scientific projects led by Dr. Herradón as Principal investigator. Dr. Herradón has a mixed background in Academia and in Pharmaceutical Industry where he has worked in Drug Discovery programs for CNS Disorders (Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc, Cambridge, USA). He carried out a 3-year postdoctoral stay at The Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, CA, USA) participating in 4 NIH-funded competitive projects. Back in Spain, Prof. Herradón has been granted 5 national competitive scientific projects, being Principal Investigator in 4 of them. He has published more than 50 original papers in peer-reviewed high indexed scientific journals, 3 book chapters and he has been invited speaker in 6 international conferences.


Universidad San Pablo CEU (CEU) is a young and specialized university, founded in Madrid in 1993.  CEU structures its studies on 3 main fields of knowledge: “Health and life sciences”, “Social sciences” and “Architecture and Engineering”. CEU facilities include 8 Research Centers, 43 Research Groups and 11 Core Research Facilities which sum an area of 3,400 m2 devoted to research. Over the past 3 years, CEU has been granted 35 competitive research projects, including 3 H2020 projects (1 MSCA-IF grant).


In the search for validation of new biomarkers and for the development of new drugs that could modulate inflammatory processes underlying a wide variety of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders and other diseases of the CNS, our strategy is to identify proteins with known regulatory functions in inflammation, whose levels of expression are upregulated in patients with the above mentioned diseases and/or animal models of those CNS disorders.

Once those proteins had been identified, they will be validated and their modulatory role in Neuroinflammation will be elucidated in order to confirm their potential as pharmacological targets. Accordingly, targets will be prioritized and subjected to a program of preclinical development of new drugs active on those targets. Through structure based drug design, small molecules with selectivity, potency and drug-like properties will be designed, synthesized and their effects characterized in in vitro and in vivo disease models. The group routinely uses a variety of techniques that cover all the areas of experimental pharmacology: From in vitro assays in cell cultures and organelles (binding, efficiency, etc.) to ex vivo functional tests (e.g. Organ bath, electrophysiology, etc) and in vivo tests (behavior, tissue analysis, etc.). Thus, with this proposal, MSCA Fellow will have an opportunity to work with a wide variety of in vitro and in vivo assays including the use of genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) in several conditions of neuroinflammation. Prof. Herradón keeps frequent collaborations with the Pharmaceutical Industry in both discovery of pharmacological targets and testing new drugs.


In summary, fellowship holders will advance current knowledge regarding key players in neuroinflammatory processes associated to different CNS pathologies including neurodegenerative disorders and neuropsychiatry diseases. They will be involved in the development of novel lead compounds for the treatment of these diseases and the information on mechanism of the lead compounds obtained by QM/MM (quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics) approach will be used to obtain improved molecules suitable for clinical trials.

At the deadline for the submission of proposals (14/09/2017), researchers (*):

  • Shall be in possession of a doctoral degree or have at least four years of full-time equivalent research experience.

  • Must not have resided or carried out their main activities in Spain for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the abovementioned deadline.

An expression of:

• A short CV: Only CVs with considerable scientific achievements will be considered. Candidates should have an excellent track record of research; they should demonstrate the ability to grow into scientific/technological leadership roles.

• A two-page research proposal.

• A short statement explaining why CEU would be the best host institution for your research.

• Two letters of reference.


Contact Person:

Prof. Gonzalo Herradón

e-mail: herradon@ceu.es

Departamento de Ciencias Farmacéuticas y de la Salud

Facultad de Farmacia

Universidad CEU San Pablo


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