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Mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) is an exciting technique that is gaining popularity in the fields of biomedicine and medical diagnostics for its ability to chemically image tissues without the use of labels. MSI produces images of the locations of biochemical compounds that can help us understand and even better diagnose diseases such as cancer. Combining MSI with immunohistochemistry (MSI-IHC) is a new and rapidly growing technique that also enables targeted imaging of proteins at high spatial resolutions and can greatly improve the quality of the images; with much higher multiplexing than for example immunofluorescence microscopy . Unfortunately, typical MSI instruments are slow, limiting the throughput and field of view for MSI-IHC experiments. For example, it can take many hours or days to image 1 cm2 of tissue at a high spatial resolution. Last year, researchers at M4i developed fast mass microscopy (FMM), a technique that enables speeding up MSI more than 1,000 times — now experiments that would take a day can be done in a few minutes . The development of FMM poses challenges and opens opportunities for instrument and method development, validation, and optimization. One such opportunity is pairing FMM with IHC, which has not been done yet. With FMM-IHC, researchers could feasibly image hundreds to thousands of tissues in the time it takes to image a single tissue now while providing highly relevant biological information.
This postdoctoral position will focus on the methodological development of MSI-IHC for use in combination with FMM. In particular, the project aims to optimize the tissue sample preparation using metal-labelled antibodies, the instrument parameters for a PHI nanoTOF II Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) instrument as well as data analysis procedures . This position will work within a team of dedicated researchers at the M4i Institute and collaborate with partners at Penn State and ETH Zürich. At M4i, you will have a partner postdoctoral researcher who is dedicated to the further improvement of the FMM instrumentation itself for FMM-IHC. In the second half of the project, you and your partner postdoctoral researcher will collaborate to conduct a large screening of many biological tissue samples to demonstrate and validate the combined FMM-IHC technology. You will present your findings at leading international conferences at least once a year and will publish in peer review journals with open access unlocked for all publications.
The postdoctoral position will be supervised by Dr. Sebastiaan Van Nuffel and co-supervised by Dr. Ian Anthony. The anticipated start date is June 1, 2023, but reasonable accommodations can be made for the right candidate. The funding for this position is provided by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) under the project title “Fast Mass Spectrometry Imaging for Immunohistochemistry”.
 Bodenmiller, B. Cell Systems 2016, 2, 225. 10.1016/j.cels.2016.03.008
 Körber, A. et al., Anal Chem. 2022, 94, 14652-8. 10.1021/acs.analchem.2c02870
 Van Nuffel, S. et al., Anal. Chem. 2020, 92, 12079. 10.1021/acs.analchem.0c02815
Skills and qualifications
Preferred (if you have a couple of these, you are more likely to succeed):
Desired (not vital, but highly appreciated):
One year with funding for extension up to one more year. The first year will be a probation period, after a positive assessment the position can be extended for nine months on the project. The pay is commensurate with experience and corresponds to salary scale 10 (2,960 to 4,670 EUR per month).
On top of this, there is an 8% holiday and an 8.3% year-end allowance.
The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website www.maastrichtuniversity.nl > About UM > Working at UM.
Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 20,000 students and 4,700 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience. For more information, please visit www.maastrichtuniversity.nl.
Maastricht University (UM)
Universiteitssingel 50, 6229 ER, Maastricht
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