Call for applications for post-doctoral research fellowships!

The Igoillo-Esteve team is focused on the study of the molecular mechanisms of β-cell dysfunction and death in type 2 diabetes and monogenic forms of diabetes, with the ultimate goal to identify novel strategies to prevent β-cell demise. The elucidation of disease mechanisms in monogenic forms of diabetes contributes to further the understanding of β-cell failure not only in this rare diseases, but also in polygenic type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and to propose tailored therapeutic strategies.

The Igoillo-Esteve research group studies the loss of functional β-cell mass related to endoplasmic reticulum stress and altered tRNA modifications, two biological pathways contributing to β-cell failure in monogenic and type 2 diabetes. In particular, they evaluate potential therapeutic approaches for diabetes in Wolfram syndrome, a syndromic form of diabetes caused by mutations in the endoplasmic reticulum stress gene WFS1. 

Her team also studies the molecular mechanisms underlying cellular demise in a syndrome of young onset diabetes and microcephaly, caused by nonsense mutations in the tRNA methyltransferase TRMT10A. Her recent findings indicate that tRNA methylation is essential for β-cell survival, and that hypomodified tRNAs are prone to enzymatic cleavage leading to tRNA fragment generation. tRNA halves and smaller tRNA fragments are a new class of small non-coding RNAs that modulate several cellular processes by inhibiting translation or transcription of specific mRNAs. Through high quality, innovative and disease-relevant research Dr Igoillo-Esteve is expanding knowledge on tRNA biology in pancreatic β-cells and shedding light on this new pathway of β-cell failure, relevant to monogenic and polygenic forms of diabetes.

Both projects involve in vitro and in vivo disease models including RNAi-mediated gene silencing in human β-cells, transgenic mice, iPSC- derived β-cells from monogenic diabetes patients, control individuals and CRISPR/Cas 9-ingeeneered cells for in vitroexperiments and for the generation of humanized mouse models for disease. 

The candidates will hold a PhD degree and have a strong interest in diabetes research, with the ability to work autonomously. 

Both positions are currently open. 

  • One is intended to evaluate the therapeutic potential of GLP-1 analogs in Wolfram syndrome. Expertise in in vivo(mouse) research is required. This position can be filled from January 2019

  • The second is intended for stem cell research work associated to the above-mentioned projects. Experience in stem cell biology is required. This position can be filled from March 2019

For both positions, further experience in cell biology, molecular biology and RNA biology, as well as pancreatic β-cells are a plus. 

Applications are accepted until the positions are filled. Please email a letter of interest, curriculum vitae (including publication list), and the name of 2-3 reference persons (with email address and telephone number) to:

Prof Mariana Igoillo-Esteve, PhD 

migoillo@ulb.ac.be

Esteban Gurzov