Bioinformatician or Wet Lab Predoctoral Position to Study Transcriptional Regulation in Malaria Parasites

The Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) is a cutting-edge institute addressing global public health challenges through research, translation into policy and education. ISGlobal has a broad research portfolio in communicable and non-communicable diseases, ranging from basic research at the molecular level to studies at the population level. ISGlobal is accredited with the Severo Ochoa distinction, a seal of excellence of the Spanish Science Ministry.
Venue
Barcelona
What We Are Looking for
ISGlobal is seeking to hire talented and highly motivated predoctoral scientists interested on working in a research project investigating novel aspects of the regulation of gene expression in malaria parasites. More specifically, the selected candidates will study gene expression in the context of processes such as sexual conversion, which is essential for disease transmission, and the heat-shock response, which enables parasite survival during fever episodes.
We accept applications from two alternative profiles:

Wet lab profiles
Bioinformatician profiles
The selected candidate will enjoy a 4-years predoctoral contract associated with a newly awarded grant funded by the Spanish government (former FPI contract)

The team
The ISGlobal Malaria Epigenetics lab directed by ICREA Research Professor Alfred Cortés investigates the regulation of gene expression in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. We use a combination of approaches that include genome editing with CRISPR-Cas9 technology, state-of-the-art phenotypic characterisation and multi-omic approaches. Our ultimate goal is to generate high-quality basic knowledge that is relevant for the fight against malaria.

Please visit our websites (https://www.icrea.cat/Web/ScientificStaff/alfred-cortes-closas-375; https://www.isglobal.org/equipo-formacion/-/profiles/2000; https://cortesmalarialab.wordpress.com/) for an overview of our recent contributions to understanding the biology of malaria parasites. These include the identification and characterisation of the master regulators of sexual conversion and of the heat-shock response.

We offer an inclusive, vibrant and intellectually-stimulating environment, with state-of-the-art facilities and a broad critical mass for malaria research. We support the professional growth of each and every member of our team through the many excellent training activities offered by ISGlobal, in-depth scientific discussions within the team and regular individual meetings with the group leader. We are seriously committed to promoting diversity and to favour work-family life balance. We love our social activities (including, among others, team building trips and ice-cream celebrations whenever we have something to celebrate). The selected candidate will be invited to participate in the ISGlobal Mentoring Program and in the activities of the ISGlobal PhD community, which include an annual symposium.

About the project
Plasmodium falciparum is responsible for the most severe forms of human malaria. Transcriptional regulation plays a key role in malaria parasite biology, as it controls fundamental processes such as life cycle progression, antigenic variation and adaptation to the conditions of the environment. Some of these processes are regulated at the epigenetic level, with a key role for euchromatin-heterochromatin transitions. Of note, heterochromatin plays a prominent role in the regulation of the conversion of some asexual parasites into sexual forms that mediate transmission to mosquito vectors. Another important process regulated at the transcriptional level is the heat-shock response, which enables parasite survival during malaria febrile episodes.

We have a predoctoral position available to work in a project investigating novel aspects of the regulation of sexual conversion and the heat-shock response in malaria parasites. The selected candidates will work in close collaboration with other members of the team and also with external national and international collaborators.

-Wet lab profiles. On the day to day, the main experimental techniques used for this project will include culture and manipulation of P. falciparum (including genome editing with CRISPR/Cas9), state-of-the-art transcriptomic and epigenomic analyses, and advanced phenotypic characterisation using functional assays, among many others. In addition, this project will involve establishing and optimising in our laboratory several new techniques, including CUT&TAG, Hi-C / UMI-4C, single-cell omics and proximity labelling, with support from our collaborators.
-Bioinformatician profiles. As part of this project, we will generate a large amount of multiomic data. The bioinformatician will use bioinformatic tools to analyse and integrate large multiomic datasets generated by other members of the team. While we have already established robust pipelines for the analysis of P. falciparum RNA-seq and ChIP-seq data, new pipelines for the analysis of CUT&TAG, Hi-C / UMI-4C and single-cell omics data will have to be developed. Novel, creative approaches will be needed for the analysis of some complex datasets. The bioinformatician will also work on the integration of the different omic datasets, and use previously published datasets available in public repositories. We consider very important to establish a fluent communication between bioinformaticians and wet lab scientists.