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The PhD student will be working within the department of Pathology & Medical Biology (PMB) of the University Medical Center Groningen, laboratory of Experimental Pulmonology and Inflammation Research (EXPIRE). Within PMB, multiple renowned research groups work on pathophysiological damage and repair processes, using translational and multi-omic approaches (transcriptomics e.g. single cell RNA sequencing, proteomics etc), and state-of-the-art cellular and molecular techniques, to obtain insights into novel therapeutic strategies. The research will be embedded within the Groningen Research Institute for Asthma and COPD (GRIAC), a multidisciplinary and highly translational research institute performing fundamental and applied patient-related research with the aim to unravel underlying mechanisms of the development and progression of lung diseases, including asthma, COPD and pulmonary fibrosis. There will be a close collaboration with the consortium partners from the Department of Respiratory Medicine NUTRIM School of Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism Maastricht University: Dr. Harry Gosker and Ramon Langen, and the Department Analytical Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Analysis, University of Groningen: Prof. Sabeth Verpoorte.
University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG)
- You have a Master’s degree in the Molecular/Medical Biology or Biomedical Sciences field with a strong drive to further develop in this area.
- You can work independently but you are also a team player.
- You have affinity for fundamental and translational research.
- You are highly motivated, self-confident and pro-active.
- You are enthusiastic and curious about experimental research.
- You have expertise with tissue culture, preferably human lung cells and you have a VMT certificate.
- You have experience with immunological and cell and molecular biological techniques such as RNA isolation, qPCR, FACS, ELISA, immunohistochemistry.
- You have excellent organizational, communication and interaction skills.
- You have strong project- and time management skills.
- Command of the English language in spoken and written word is mandatory.
The UMCG has a preventive Hepatitis B policy. The UMCG can provide you with the vaccination, should it be required for your position.
Pathologie & Medische Biologie
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a prevalent inflammatory disease characterized by irreversible airflow obstruction as well as skeletal muscle wasting. The disease has high morbidity and mortality, and with more than 300 million deaths yearly, it is the 3rd leading cause of death worldwide. Disturbed damage and repair responses have been implicated in both lung and muscle pathology in COPD, resulting in airway disease, alveolar tissue destruction (emphysema) and skeletal muscle weakness. The tissue damage in COPD is severe and irreversible. Therefore, there is an urgent need to understand and target the mechanisms leading to impaired tissue regeneration in COPD. Emerging evidence implicates a role for mitochondrial impairment in lung and muscle pathology in COPD. Funded by a ZonMW-Open consortium grant, we will address this in our project.
Our project MITOREG aims to reveal the intricate interplay between MITOchondrial function and tissue REGeneration. We will investigate a novel concept on the crosstalk between lung and muscle. We will examine whether COPD-related mitochondrial dysfunction can be restored by stimulation of local and systemic mitochondrial rejuvenation in order to reinforce the regenerative capacity of muscle and lung.
Within the UMCG, the PhD student who will work on the lung epithelial cell culture studies, comparing mitochondrial function in primary epithelial cells from well-characterized COPD and control subjects and relating this to abnormal repair and regenerative responses, using advanced, patient-specific models including organoids and organ-on-chip. In addition, the PhD student will collaborate with the PhD student from Maastricht on lung-muscle interaction and potential interventions, using the organ-on-chip model set-up by a post-doc working in Verpoorte’s group.
Techniques to be used will be e.g. cell culture, using air-liquid interface and organoid models, electrical resistance measurements, mitochondrial respiration (Oroboros/Seahorse analyzer), qPCR, flow cytometry, ELISA, immunofluorescent staining, potentially mass spectrometry.