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-   A high level of motivation and interest.
-   Previous experience in molecular biology and genetics topics.
-   Master title.
-   Previous international mobility is a major plus.
-   High level of communicative skills.
-   Good level of English speaking and writing skills (required). Spanish and French (helpful).
-   Availability and willingness to prepare for an online panel interview on October 20.

What we offer
-   Incorporation in the University of Toulouse in a multinational and highly collaborative team.
-   An exciting, innovative, and collaborative research project.
-   Long-term stay(s) of at least 1 year in total at the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute in Barcelona, Spain.
-   The international networks of the Bystricky and Buschbeck groups.
-   Tentative start date during Q1 2020.

Additional Information

The teams of Kerstin Bystricky (Centre de Biologie Integrative, University of Toulouse, France) and Marcus Buschbeck (Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute, Badalona, Spain) are looking for a highly motivated student to apply to a competitive bi-national PhD fellowship offered by CARE programme of INSERM. The successful candidate will need to defend the pre-selected research project in front of an online selection panel on Oct 20. The success rate is 3 out of 10.

Title: The role of the histone variant macroH2A1 in spatio-temporal organization of chromatin and cellular plasticity

Dissemination of cancer cells may be attributed to reactivation of conserved developmental programs known as Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT). EMT is a multi-step process that involves numerous signaling pathways and major re-organization of chromatin architecture linked to epigenetic reprogramming 1.

Histone proteins structurally organize the genome. The histone variant macroH2A1 contains unique domains that are involved in 3D-chromatin architecture2–4 and metabolite-sensing5. Our hypothesis is that macroH2A1 regulates chromatin architecture facilitating gene expression programs that preserve cell identity. Given the importance of this plasticity to cancer metastasis, there is great need to resolve underlying molecular mechanisms. As cancer is an aging-related disorder, macroH2A1-dependent regulation of cell identity may loose fidelity with increasing age.

The aim of the thesis project is to determine the role of macroH2A1 in chromosome organization and to define the relationship between metabolite sensing and epigenetic mechanisms. Methods include high-content sequencing-based methods, single-cell approaches and super-resolution live-cell imaging.

The student will benefit from the two group’s expertise in metabolism 2,5, nuclear organization6, and shared long-term interest in chromatin structure and histone variants.


  1.    McDonald et al. Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. (2011).
  2.    Douet et al. Journal of Cell Science (2017).
  3.    Kozlowski, Corujo et al. EMBO Rep. (2018).
  4.    Recoules, L. et al. bioRxiv (2020). doi:10.1101/2020.01.29.924704
  5.    Posavec, M., Timinszky, G. & Buschbeck, M. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 70, 1509–24 (2013).
  6.    Barth, Fourel, & Shaban bioRxiv (2020).


Please also visit our group webpages: 


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 hematological 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: and the Josep Carreras nonprofit organization:

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 favors the development of its scientists.


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

Place of presentation of the candidacies

How to apply
Interested applicants should send their CV (incl. the contact details of two referees) and a motivation letter to ; ; and including the reference SFFELL_MB_44.


Deadline for Applications: 25th September 2020.