We are always interested in motivated, eager and keen scientists with a strong scientific background. Please contact us directly in case you are interested in our research.

Open positions

i2TRON - PhD Training Program

Workpackage 1: Chronic Inflammation

Project 1.1. - Deciphering the metabolic control of T cell dependent inflammation

i2TRON is a doctoral training unit (DTU) of 20 Ph.D. positions with a strong focus on developing the new generation of translational scientists, who can turn observations in the laboratory, clinical setting or community into interventions that improve health of individuals via innovative diagnostics or treatments. Here we use specific non-communicable diseases (NCDs) as model diseases across auto-immunity/allergy, cancer and neurodegeneration, that are characterized by inflammation as shared key pathogenic mechanism.

In i2TRON the participating biomedical research stakeholders will complement their portfolio towards a comprehensive translational scientist training to form rigorous researchers, that are at the same time team players, boundary crossers, process innovators, domain experts, system thinkers and, last not least, skilled communicators to disseminate their research. Overall, 20 experienced supervisors, including  four  physician scientists representing the focus areas,  join forces across the Luxembourg the Institute of Health (LIH), the University of Luxembourg (UL), the Laboratoire National de Santé (LNS) and the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg (CHL) to bridge and translate fundamental and clinical research into novel strategies for clinical practice. Each partner institution offers specialized research expertise as well as access to cutting-edge IT-, laboratory- and clinical infrastructures and combining their domain expertise in a collaborative scheme to push the frontier of knowledge.

We are seeking excellent and highly motivated candidates holding a Master’s degree (MSc or equivalent) in a field of the chronic inflammation topic PhD program.

Introduction

Inflammation and autoimmunity are controlled in the periphery by adaptive and innate immune responses. Alterations to these mechanisms can contribute to the development of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, hematological malignancies and solid tumors. Cellular metabolism drives almost every biological process in the body, including immunity. This has led to the creation of a new field of research termed “immunometabolism. Studying immune cell metabolism with an eye to interfering with detrimental responses is a very promising approach to treating immune-mediated diseases and has the potential to initiate the next wave of innovative immunotherapies. The Brenner Lab has significantly contributed to our understanding how metabolism controls immunity in the recent past (Kurniawan et al. 2020; Mak and Grusdat et al. 2017). An in-depth understanding of how metabolism varies according to cell type or function will thus open up new avenues for the treatment of a variety of disorders.

Aim and Hypothesis

The aim of the proposed PhD student project is to decipherer novel molecular and metabolic pathways in T cells that control inflammation ex vivo and in vivo. This project is a part of a larger program within our research group. We hypothesize that redirection of metabolic fluxes in T cells can ameliorate disease symptoms.  We will combine deep molecular and cellular analyses with big data approaches and in vivo disease models that are strongly linked to human diseases. A cross sectional study with work package 2 (Immuno-Oncology) is an option. Interested candidates should have strong background in immunology and should be enthusiastic about high-end immunological research in combination with molecular and mechanistic analyses.

Methods

We will use in vivo mouse disease models of autoimmunity, infections and cancer. We aim for a detailed study of T cell-based immunology linked with molecular and metabolic analyses. The project will involve methods like: metabolic profiling, targeted metabolic tracing, seahorse analysis, RNAseq, etc. Our findings from mouse studies will be validated in human immune cells.