DOCTORAL INPhINIT FELLOWSHIPS PROGRAMME – INCOMING _PhD Early-stage researchers

Reference

PhD_LCPM_50

Places available

1

Deadline for application

04/02/2021

Requirements

- The applications are submitted directly by the candidate to the la Caixa Foundation (Inphinit Incoming call). We highly recommend that in advanced the candidate contact with his future supervisor (if he is selected by la Caixa).

- Take note that Josep Carreras’s positions are included under the umbrella of the Germans Trias I Pujol Research Institute (IGTP). Check the Josep Carreras open position Inphinit Incoming call at https://finder.lacaixafellowships.org/finder.

- At the closing date for submitting applications (4th February 2021), candidates must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree.

- At the time of recruitment, candidates must comply with one of the following
options:

  1. To have completed the studies that lead to an official Spanish or
    Portuguese (or from another country of the European Higher Education
    Area) university degree awarding 300 ECTS credits, of which at least 60
    ECTS credits must correspond to master level.
  2. To have completed a degree in a non-Spanish or non-Portuguese
    university not adapted to the European Higher Education Area that gives
    access to doctoral studies. The verification of an equivalent level of studies to the ones mentioned above will be made by the university when the admission procedure starts.

Mobility Rule: For doing their research at Spanish institutions, candidates must
have resided in Spain for less than 12 months in the last 3 years immediatelyprior to the closing date for submitting applications.

- Short stays, such as holidays, done in a country other than their country of usual residence (where they carried out their main activity), will be considered as time spent in their country of usual residence.

- Demonstrable level of English (B2 or higher).

 

What we offer?

- La Caixa offer the opportunity to contribute to cutting‐edge research projects in a competitive and dynamic international environment, in one of the leading Epigenetics labs in the world.

- Three years contract.

- Salary conditions: the maximum total payment amount will be €122,592, as broken down below:

  1. Three annual payments of €34,800 each. Where applicable, the amounts corresponding to the Social Security contributions payable by the employer, as well as any other compulsory fee, whether current or that may be provided for in a future legal framework, will be deducted from the yearly gross amount of €34,800 to be received by the fellow.
  2. €3,564 per year, as an additional amount for conferences, courses, research stays, consumables, equipment, charges for the use of intellectual property, etc.
  3. The ”La Caixa” Foundation will award a prize of €7,500, which will be paid in the fourth year, should the fellow be able to deposit their thesis within 6 months after the third year of their fellowship has ended.

- Complementary training: the Inphinit programme offers specific training meant to help fellows strengthen the skills required for a successful PhD and to prepare and design their professional career. The programme consists of an annual on-site three-days training session, as well as continuous support for either personal or technical needs.

- High-quality academic and industrial secondments.

- Participation in outreach and social events.

- Working in the mixed basic and clinical research environment of the Josep Carreras Leukemia Research Institute.

- The stimulating environment of the Barcelona metropolitan area.

In addition, Josep Carreras Institute organizes scientific seminars and other training to which the fellow might be able to attend.

Additional Information

Research Description

We welcome applications from candidates eager to study Stem cell biology, developmental leukemia and immunotherapy at Research Group of Dr. Pablo Menendez for the DOCTORAL to apply to the INPhINIT FELLOWSHIPS PROGRAMME.

The receiving laboratory strives to understand the pathogenesis of acute leukemia and to develop novel targeted therapeutics. There are currently 3 main active research programs: 

  1. Modeling in utero leukemogenesis and decoding fetal hematopoiesis as a platform to understand the etiology, pathogenesis and cell-of-origin of pediatric leukemias. We harness state-of-the-art multilayer-omics approaches, clinically relevant primary samples and in vivo PDX models.
  2. Novel immunotherapies for acute leukemias. We have developed proprietary blocking MoAbs and CAR T-cell therapies with high efficiency and specificity in murine PDX models. We are also combining novel immunocheckpoints inhibitors with front-line treatments, and exploring BiTE-secreting T-cell therapies as an innovate approach to boost the therapeutic potential of untransduced bystander T-cells decorated by the secreted BiTEs.
  3. Contribution of the BM-MSC to leukemia initiation/progression with a special focus on BM-MSC-mediated chemo- and immune-resistance. We strive to resolve the transcriptional heterogeneity and developmental origin of the BM-MSCs. We are especially interested in understanding how pro-inflammatory vs immunosuppressive stromas control immune resistance and immune escape to immunotherapies.

Cancer is one of the most prevalent and devastating diseases worldwide. The last decade has witnessed the clinical implementation of T-cell immunotherapies, one of the greatest revolutions in cancer treatment. B-cell acute leukemias and lymphomas are the best examples of the success of T-cell immunotherapies. Such success comes from the development of T-cells genetically modified to specifically target tumor cells expressing the molecule CD19 (approach known as "CD19-directed CAR T-cells"). CD19-directed CAR T-cells have produced a complete response in ~85% of B-cell acute leukemia and lymphoma patients, and have become the treatment of choice for refractory/advanced B-cell acute leukemia/lymphoma. However, the CAR T-cell field is still in its infancy. There are no predictive markers available to gauge CAR T-cell response, and major limitations including durability, functionality and specificity of the treatment must be overcome to realize its full potential, especially for non-B-cell leukemias for which no CAR T-cell therapy has been approved yet. In addition, CAR T-cell immunotherapies currently employ the patient's own cells, making it a personalized, very expensive treatment which is not affordable for many public health systems and/or patients. In this project, we will strive to overcome current limitations by using universal naïve T-cells de novo generated from umbilical cord blood which can be safely used in an allogeneic setting without immune rejection. We will use immunology engineering techniques to arm such cord blood-derived naïve T-cells with tumor redirecting strategies, thus improving the durability, functionality and specificity of the treatment for B-cell and non-B-cell leukemias.

The PhD candidate will deliver next-generation, off-the-shelf, scalable and universal T-cell adoptive cell immunotherapies for B-cell and non-B-cell leukemias. He/She will redirect HLA-unrestricted, cytotoxic naïve effector T-cells to tumor associated antigens using CAR- or BiTE-secreting effector cells armed with inactive immunocheckpoint soluble blockers capable of counteracting tumor microenvironment- or leukemia-mediated immune brakes.

Please also visit our group webpage:

https://www.carrerasresearch.org/en/Stem_cells_mesenchymal_cancer_and_development

 

Who we are?

Our mission is to carry out research into the basic, epidemiological, preventive, clinical and translational aspects of leukemia and other hematologic malignancies.

The vision of the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute is that research will identify new therapeutic targets and enable us to develop more precise and less aggressive treatments. We

aspire to understand the origin and development of leukemias and other malignant haematological pathologies in order to be able to prevent them. We will work for a future in which all leukemias will be curable.

For further information, please, visit our webpage: http://www.carrerasresearch.org/en  and the Josep Carreras non-profit organization: https://www.fcarreras.org/en.

The Josep Carreras Institute is member of the Research Centers of Excellence of Catalonia (CERCA, Catalan Government), also accredited by the Spanish Ministry of Health as Health

Research Centre of Excellence (ISCIII) and by the Spanish Association Against Cancer (Asociación Española contra el Cáncer, AEEC). The institute also holds the HR Excellence in Research recognition awarded by the European Commission.

The European Commission awarded the IJC the HR Excellence seal in July 2019. The IJC continues to work to maintain its policies in line with the Charter and Code principles.

The HRS4R has the main objective of ensuring that research centers of excellence implement and respect the requirements of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for hiring researchers (from here on referred to as the Charter and Code) within their human resources policies.

This EC initiative aims to promote training, professional development, and mobility for all European scientists. The IJC supports these values and principles, which will not only serve to strengthen its internal policies but will actively stimulate excellent research and firmly situate the organization as an institution with a stimulating working environment that favours the development of its scientists.

IJC is an equal opportunity employer. We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, colour, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and other legally protected characteristics.

Place of presentation of the candidacies

How to apply?

INPhINIT aims to recruit excellent Early-Stage Researchers with very solid theoretical backgrounds, with curiosity and ambition; with incipient skills to express themselves clearly and defend their ideas with creativity, independence and originality. Researchers may be focused on the academic side or be more industry-oriented. The evaluation criteria and scores is defined on the call guidelines: https://fundacionlacaixa.org/en/la-caixa-foundation-doctoral-inphinit-fellowships-incoming.

Candidates must send an updated two-page CV with the contact details of 2 referees, a motivation letter and a one-page research project outline to jobs@carrerasresearch.org indicating in the subject of the message: PhD_LCPM_50.

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