15 PhD positions available under the MSCA ITN fellowship program SmartAge ITN in Europe

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Tags: PhD | MSCA ITN

The SmartAge Innovative Training Network (ITN) “Gut-brain-axis: Targets for improvement of cognition in the elderly" is recruiting 15 highly motivated PhD students. The offered positions are available with a starting date in March 2021 for a maximum duration of 3 years. The fellowships are funded as part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Innovative Training Networks under the European Commission’s H2020 programme.

SmartAge is a European joint venture between academia and industry, providing multidisciplinary scientific expertise, complementary skills, and personal development of young researchers. The SmartAge consortium consists of 11 beneficiaries and 5 partner organisations involving hospitals, universities, research institutes and companies from 10 European Countries: Germany, Austria, France, Sweden, Hungary, Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark and Switzerland. The consortium, coordinated by Prof. Dr. Otto W. Witte of the University Hospital Jena, Department of Neurology, Jena, Germany, will conduct cutting-edge research and training in the highly topical and emerging field of research on microbiome gut-brain-interaction with focus on aging.



The age-related decline in cognitive functions represents a serious social and medical problem. The intestinal microbiome is a key effector in maintaining brain plasticity and therefore represents a promising target and sensor for interventions aimed at improving the cognitive abilities of older people. SmartAge, coordinated by Jena University Hospital, brings together an expert team of scientists from academia and industry such as clinicians, psychologists, nutritionists, neuroscientists, biotechnologists and bioinformaticians. SmartAge will apply a translational approach combining animal and human studies, nutrition and lifestyle interventions, cognitive testing, brain imaging, state-of-the-art OMICS and systems biology, and fecal transfers to identify key regulators of gut-brain communication with the overall aim of developing microbiome-based therapies that slow down cognitive decline in old age.

Information about ITN SmartAge and the ESR positions offered can also be found on our homepage.


PhD Positions:

ESR1: Intestinal barrier function in age-dependent gut-brain interaction: dietary interventions with oat β-glucans; Host: University of Vienna, Austria

ESR2: Intestinal barrier function in age-dependent gut-brain interaction: pharmacological interventions with metformin; Host: University of Vienna, Austria

ESR3: Development of a microfluidic perfusion-station (gut-on-a-chip); Host: Cherry Biotech, France

ESR4: Age-dependent gut-brain interactions in mice: modulation by physical activity; Host: University Hospital Jena, Germany

ESR5: Age-dependent impact of physical activity on gut-brain axis in humans; Host: University Hospital Jena, Germany

ESR6: Role of the bacterial peptidoglycan-sensing molecule Pglyrp2 in cognitive aging; Host: Karolinska Institute, Sweden

ESR7: Microbiota-gut-brain axis: Inflammatory and immune markers during aging and following interventions; Host: CROmed Research Center, Hungary

ESR8: Impact of the gut microbiome on cognitive function in middle-aged subjects. Effects of weight loss; Host: Girona Biomedical Research Center, Spain

ESR9: Impact of the gut microbiome on cognitive function in middle-aged subjects. Effects of metformin; Host: Girona Biomedical Research Center, Spain

ESR10: Impact of late life nutritional interventions on microbiome / cognition; Host: Wageningen University, Netherlands

ESR11: Changes in individual BrainAGE score and brain plasticity induced by physical activity; Host: University Hospital Jena, Germany

ESR12: Elucidation of transcriptomic signatures in preserving cognition in old age; Host: Kiel University, Germany

ESR13: Impact of microbiome-host cross-talk on decline and preservation of cognition during aging; Host: National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland

ESR14: Bioinformatics analysis of the gut-microbiome during aging and following late-life interventions with respect to cognitive functions; Host: Clinical Microbiomics, Denmark

ESR15: Impacts of nutrition communication strategies on eating behaviour – best practice models to enhance compliance and adherence to healthy nutrition in different target groups; Host: Zurich University of Applied Science, Switzerland


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