Senior Lab Technician

06/08/22

Location

Leuven, Belgium

Vacancy

The laboratory of Angiogenesis and Vascular Metabolism headed by Prof. Peter Carmeliet is one of the laboratories of the Center for Cancer Biology (VIB-KU Leuven CCB), a research department of VIB (Flanders Institute for Biotechnology) located in the Oncology Department at the KU Leuven (Campus Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium).

The lab of Peter Carmeliet recently started a twin lab, the laboratory for Angiogenesis and Vascular Heterogeneity, at the Department of Biomedicine at Aarhus University (Denmark) (https://pure.au.dk/portal/da/pecar@biomed.au.dk) which is closely intertwined with the lab at the VIB-KU Leuven CCB (https://carmelietlab.sites.vib.be/en). Both the Leuven and new Aarhus lab function as one virtual lab, and synergistically combine their joint forces and focus to study similar fundamental questions in vascular biology and angiogenesis, and to develop more efficiently new vascular medicine.

Prof. Carmeliet has an open position for a Senior Laboratory Technician in the Aarhus lab. You will be trained first in the Leuven lab. Once the training is completed you will move to the Aarhus lab to transfer your acquired knowledge & set up experiments. You will be the key person to ensure a close link between both labs. You will continuously interact with and be trained by/ informed via the Leuven lab. The Department of Biomedicine at the Aarhus University employs >450 people and covers a range of research areas within Biomedicine. The infrastructure is well developed with modern laboratories, expertise units and animal facilities. You will work in the brand new ‘Skou Building’.

Background project

The research of Prof. Peter Carmeliet focuses on the development of blood vessels (angiogenesis) and vascular heterogeneity in health and disease, with the aim to identify novel therapeutic pro-and anti-angiogenic strategies.

Current anti-angiogenesis therapies (AATs), by targeting the pro-angiogenic factor VEGF, suffer resistance and insufficient efficacy. The Carmeliet lab explores opportunities to overcome these limitations and to improve AAT by focusing on endothelial cell metabolism, endothelial heterogeneity and in particular, endothelial immunity. Recent projects, combining single-cell transcriptomics with bulk multi-omics (transcriptomics, (epi)-genomics, proteomics & metabolomics) revealed novel insights in endothelial cell metabolism and heterogeneity in health and disease that can help design novel AAT strategies. See below for more project details.

Job Description

The lab is looking for a motivated Senior Laboratory Technician to help us to discover new therapeutic targets (using bulk/single cell multi-omics) and to bridge the valley of death (by functionally validating these targets). As part of our translational research team, you will interact with a dynamic and experienced team of laboratory technicians. We are looking for dynamic and flexible candidates, willing to step into new adventures, daring to break new grounds outside of their comfort zone, passionate about opportunities to set up new technologies and facilities, not being shy of diving into new fields, being primed and eager to become acquainted with new techniques.

Key Accountabilities:

  • Performing cell culture techniques: isolation and culture of endothelial cells and other cell types from surgical samples (human and mouse).
  • Single-cell library preparation and sequencing.
  • Executing: western blotting, PCR, quantitative PCR, Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), etc.
  • Histology: fixation, embedding, cutting (vibratome or cryostat) and (Immuno)staining of human and murine tissue.
  • Imaging and analysis of tissue slides.
  • Assisting and/or performing animal experiments.
  • Molecular biology assays (e.g., viral transduction experiments, siRNA transfection).
  • Ordering of products, consumables, and devices. Follow-up deliveries. Stock management.
  • Keep laboratory and equipment clean and organized to ensure safety in the laboratory.
  • Communicating and reporting laboratory results in a professional manner and in digital format (e.g. excel) & participate in seminars.
  • Support scientists daily, between multiple disciplines, and ensure continuity.
  • Organize and troubleshoot practical work independently.

Your profile

  • Candidates have a Bachelor's/ Master’s degree in one of the following: laboratory technologies, biotechnology, biology, biomedicine, pharmacy, or related fields – vascular/immunology expertise is an advantage, but not mandatory.
  • You have solid experience as a laboratory technician in a research lab environment (>4-5 years). 
  • Proven experience in molecular biology, cell culture, biochemistry work and/or other techniques
  • Candidates are familiar with Microsoft Word and Excel.
  • Experience in histology, imaging and animal surgery will be considered an advantage.
  • Extra added values are: interest in (i) integrating single-cell multi-omics; (ii) competence/interest in analysing and integrating omics- and clinical datasets; (iii) target validation assays
  • You are interested and motivated to work on ambitious projects in an open, dynamic, competitive and driven team.
  • You are flexible and willing to learn new technologies.
  • You maintain excellent organizational skills; you can work in a team as well as independently.
  • You are accurate and critical of your work and its implementation
  • You have a strong ability to multi-task and meet timelines
  • Good English communication skills, both oral and written, are expected. Knowledge of Danish is not required, however, it will be an enormous advantage.

We offer

  • The unique opportunity to work in a dynamic, multidisciplinary and international team (in Aarhus-Leuven) where passion for innovation, team spirit, and continuous improvement of novel drug therapies, are part of our main goals.
  • Access to, and training in, state-of-the-art technologies in biomedical research. The Leuven lab has multiple core facilities, with expertise in cell culture, FACS, metabolomics, (single-cell) genomics/ transcriptomics, bioinformatics, animal surgery, mouse transgenesis, immunohistochemistry & in situ hybridisation (RNAscope), and imaging (https://vibcancer.be/expertise-centers).
  • You can expect a varied job in an international atmosphere.
  • Excellent training conditions within a team of experts where personal development is strongly encouraged. Opportunities will cross your path, enabling you to keep on developing your career.
  • Starting as soon as possible.

The Project

The Carmeliet lab applies its expertise and research focus to evaluate and deliver novel therapeutic concepts into clinical development with the ambition to change the life of patients with vasculature-related disorders. Standard gene modulation strategies (conditional gene targeting/silencing/overexpression) are exploited as well as novel, sophisticated, high-throughput multi-omics approaches (bulk and scRNAseq, scG&T, scATAC, etc.) and computational modelling and biology (artificial intelligence, machine learning), both for hypothesis-generating and hypothesis-testing experiments. For instance, recent successful efforts in generating a single-cell transcriptome atlas of endothelial cells (ECs) from various healthy and pathological (including tumor) tissues from preclinical models and clinical patient samples have revealed the existence of previously unknown endothelial cell subtypes, including endothelial cells with a resident endothelial stem cell signature, and endothelial cells with a putative immune-modulatory role (termed “IMECs”), key findings being taken into further investigation. In addition, we developed an innovative AI-based tool to predict novel unknown genes in ECs, and to develop alternative therapies. Newly AI-identified targets are validated in vitro and in vivo using lipid nanoparticles based strategies and novel knockdown technologies in mice.

A major challenge of current medical research is to translate the obtained high-profile insights into new medicine. We aspire to not only discover new therapeutic targets but also to "bridge the valley of death" in order to improve drug development.

How to apply?

Applications for this position should be submitted online. If you have questions about this position, please contact Prof. Peter Carmeliet: peter.carmeliet@kuleuven.be or Katie Van Geyte: katie.vangeyte@kuleuven.be.