Postdoctoral Position in Endothelial Cell Heterogeneity
Catholic University of Leuven Department of Cardiovascular Sciences

Context: A post-doctoral position in the context of a KU Leuven competitive funding ID-N (interdisciplinary) project is available in the Endothelial Cell Biology Research Unit, headed by Prof. Dr. Aernout Luttun, at the Center for Molecular and Vascular Biology, Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium. This interdisciplinary project is executed by a collaborative and highly interactive network of three different KU Leuven labs that have a broad diversity of technologies available. This post-doctoral position will therefore offer the possibility to gain proficiency in various aspects of the behavior of endothelial cells, including transcriptional regulation, mechanosensing and interaction with their surrounding matrix. Background and aims of the project: All organs, with a few exceptions, contain a blood vessel network that is adapted to fulfill the needs of the host tissue. Endothelial cells lining the inside of these vessels have therefore acquired specific molecular, morphologic and functional characteristics that become compromised when exposed to disease conditions. Unraveling the mechanisms that determine these organ-specific endothelial characteristics offers the possibility to develop novel strategies to diagnose and treat organ-specific vascular diseases. The current project focusses on endothelial cells in three vital organs, heart, liver and brain. The host lab identified transcription factor combinations highly enriched in endothelial cells in each of these organs. These transcription factors combined with different environmental cues determine the unique properties of endothelial cells in each organ. The central aim of this interdisciplinary project is to estimate the relative contribution of transcription factors and environmental signals to the heterogeneous nature of endothelial cells. This will be accomplished by artificially altering transcription factor expression or by changing their environment through variation of their hemodynamic and mechanical environment. To identify combinations of transcriptional and environmental modulators of organ-specific endothelial cell phenotypes can inform tissue engineers of the important characteristics to include in the design of organ-specific vascular bed repair strategies.


You will have a dedicated project related to the aims described above and be responsible for its administration and execution
You will be collaborating with other team members working on endothelial heterogeneity in the host lab and also with colleagues working in the other two labs participating in this ID-N project
Your project will involve working with cells derived from different species (including transgenic mice and human donors) and will encompass their isolation and culture, their manipulation by lentiviral overexpression of transcription factor (combination)s or by altering cell environment (through exposure to flow, native extracellular matrix or artificial matrices with different degrees of stiffness); an important part of the work will be related to expressional and functional profiling of the(manipulated) cells 
You will be expected to present your work at internal and external (inter)national meetings


Candidates need to have a PhD degree in a relevant discipline (e.g., Biological Sciences) and have a background and experience in preferably multiple aspects mentioned in the project description. 
We seek a highly motivated and enthusiastic individual with good communication and writing skills in English and the ability to guide and supervise (a) PhD student(s). 
A general good proficiency in molecular and cellular biology techniques(including qRT-PCR, RNAseq (including analysis), Western blot, ChIP, lentivirusproduction and cell transduction, FACS, cell culture), histology and (confocal)microscopy, (transgenic) animal models is an important asset. 
A good publication record with a least one publication in a higher-impact journal will be valued.


The position is available for one or two years, pending satisfactory progress. 
The candidate is however expected to compete for a post-doctoral scholarship during the first year. 
The position will be further extended if a scholarship is obtained.


For more information, please contact Applications should be sent by email and include a CV, motivation letter, and 3 references and corresponding contact information.

You can apply for this job no later than April 7th, 2021 via the online application tool: Based on the provided information, candidates will be prioritized and some will be invited for an interview. Starting date of the position is flexible.

You can apply for this job no later than April 07, 2021 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: April 7, 2021
  • Tags: Bio-ingenieurswetenschappen

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