This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 754510

PROBIST

BIST Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme

Programme Description

PROBIST is a post-doctoral fellowship Programme led by the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology. Altogether, 61 fellowships will be awarded and implemented in top research in the Barcelona and Tarragona area (Spain).

BIST brings closer together seven independent Catalan internationally recognized research centres. The centres participating in the PROBIST programme are:

• The Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO)
• Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ)
• Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2)
• Institute for High Energy Physics (IFAE)
• Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

Also affiliated to BIST, but not directly participating in PROBIST, are:

• Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG)
• Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC)

PROBIST applicants will have complete research freedom. Applicants may subscribe to one or several generic research topics published with the calls. Once pre-selected they may design their research project proposal with a research group of their choice in the participating BIST centres. Successful candidates will be hosted by the selected research group. They will have full access to facilities, seminars and training programmes of the BIST centres. Networking activities shall facilitate inter-centre and inter-disciplinary exchange and collaborations. PROBIST will offer fellows the opportunity to opt for secondments from a pool of international institutions with which BIST centres have institutional agreements or collaborations.

The fellowships are granted for 3 years including:

• An annual gross salary of 36.000€ plus a single payment of 1.500€ relocation support (Spanish tax and social security deductions apply),
• Close mentoring and supervision through prestigious senior researchers,
• A personalized career development plan,
• A training programme for scientific and transferable skills.

PROBIST fellows will receive training in leadership and entrepreneurial skills and technology transfer issues, such as industrial and intellectual property, industrial collaborations, spin-off development, and other related subjects. BIST offers “Science to Business” courses with the goal to raise awareness of business opportunities and also to accelerate the transfer of technologies developed at the BIST centres to the market.

PROBIST counts with an important number of active collaboration R&D with local and international companies and research institutions. Several BIST centres are also closely associated with major research hospitals in the Barcelona area. BIST has also established extensive collaboration agreements with major technology centres in Catalonia. PROBIST fellows will be encouraged to undertake visits and short-term stays and secondments with these partners whenever relevant to their field of research.

Each BIST centre offers an internationally renowned, attractive research environment, complemented by a range of training activities that will help highly qualified young scientists to develop the skills necessary for a successful career. The high interdisciplinary nature of BIST makes it an excellent setting for fellows to access an extensive offer of scientific seminars, courses and workshops.

PROBIST fellows will be able to participate in a number of existing programmes, including:

• Seminar programmes of the BIST centres
• Researcher exchange and networking programmes with key academic partners and including international conferences and workshops organised by BIST centres.

In its effort to establish an outstanding long-term training programme, BIST is planning a variety of training initiatives for postdocs to support them in the different stages of their career development, by exploring the different options for becoming successful leading scientist. Along this process, fellows should acquire responsibility in conducting their own research project in a highly competitive environment (effective research, leadership skills, strategic thinking, ethical research responsibility, technical workshops), and awareness and responsibility for their own career progression.

BIST is aware that training the scientific leaders of the future involves providing them with tools and aptitudes on transferable skills which will allow them to excel in both the academic and industrial worlds. The European Charter for Researchers requires that “all researchers … are given the opportunity for professional development and for improving their employability through access to measures for the continuing development of skills and competencies”. In this regard, PROBIST will offer courses and seminars specifically designed to foster these abilities.

The actions included in the programme are focused on:
1) training in leadership skills;
2) offering opportunities to assume responsibility;
3) offering tools to be active in own career progression plan.

One of the main objectives of PROBIST is to provide high quality supervision offering:

• Targeted mentoring and access to a wide variety of scientific activities, services, and networks.
• Have close mentoring: The PROBIST research project chosen and performed by the fellow will be under the supervision of the group leader, who at the same time will be shaping, together with the fellow, a personalized career development plan (PCDP). The goal of this plan will be to develop and foster the individual competences of the fellow.

Calls Structure

The calls for candidatures will be open to everybody but special eligibility criteria and a multistep evaluation procedure will apply. There are no restrictions on gender, age, ethnic groups, national or social origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, language, disability, political opinion, and social or economic conditions. BIST and its associated centres are committed to pro-active policies on equal opportunities and gender issues.

Please review the eligibility and evaluation criteria and carefully read the instructions on how to submit an application before applying.

Applications will exclusively be accepted through the online application platform. You will be informed on the state of your application at all stages. The main means of communication during the formal process will be by e-mail. The entire selection process will be managed under strict control of privacy rules.

Next call schedule:

Call is open: October 2nd – November 26th
Writing research proposals for pre-selected candidates: January 2nd – January 23rd
Interview with candidates: February 4th – February 15th
Notification finalists: February 22nd
Incorporation foreseen from*: April 1st

(*) the exact date of incorporation will be agreed with the host centre once the award is granted. The indicated entry dates are tentative and may be negotiated with the corresponding host centre.

Research Topics

Please, kindly note that you can select up to 3 topics in preference order on the online application form (from the same or different host centres) but you will only be evaluated by the review panel related to the centre hosting the topic you select as 1st choice.

From the vantage point of molecular science, ICIQ aims to lead cross-strategies to answer major social and economic challenges related to sustainability, energy and health. In this regard, it conducts research of excellence in Catalysis and Renewable Energies.

 

ICIQ_C3_01: Design, construction, and investigation of chromophore-protein systems to achieve the efficient conversion of solar energy to fuel

Group Leader: Elisabet Romero
Keywords: Photophysics / Energy & Electron Transfer / Ultrafast Spectroscopy / Photovoltaics / Solar Fuels

Description: This multidisciplinary project involves biophysics, physical chemistry and synthetic biology. The objective is to design and construct bio-inspired protein-chromophore systems based on the knowledge obtained previously from Photosynthesis. The function of these engineered systems will be to absorb and transfer sunlight energy and to convert this energy into electrochemical energy (that is, into a separation of charges). The energy and/or electron transfer dynamics in the systems will be investigated by ultrafast laser spectroscopy, that is, transient absorption and two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy (2DES). Other systems’ properties will be studied by: steady-state spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, NMR, chromatography, and X-ray spectroscopy. These engineered systems will be utilized to construct solar cells, and ultimately, will be coupled to catalysts to achieve the efficient conversion of solar energy to fuel.

ICIQ_C3_02

Group Leader: Núria López
Keywords: Theoretical chemistry, atomistic simulations, heterogeneous catalysis, materials

Description: The analysis of reaction networks, activity and selectivity issues and the final tests on the stability of the potential materials are fundamental to establish a solid background to determine when it can be considered as a catalyst candidate for a given chemical transformation. This project will employ atomistic simulations to understand the mechanisms that govern chemical processes in heterogeneous catalysis.

ICIQ_C3_03

Group Leader: Emilio Palomares
Keywords: Perovskites, quantum dots, LEDs, materials characterisation, material sciences

Description: The applicant will work on light emitting devices based on semiconductor nanoparticles including quantum dots and perovskite materials. The researcher must have a wide experience on the preparation of LEDs and the common characterization techniques used to study LEDs. The knowledge on the synthesis of materials and their characterization is also very much appreciated.

ICIQ_C3_04

Group Leader: Ruben Martin
Keywords: Remote functionalization, catalysis, hydrocarbons, C-H functionalization, cross-coupling

Description: The candidate will work on the development of a catalytic technology for carbon-carbon bond-forming reactions via remote functionalization of sp3 C-H bonds in saturated hydrocarbons.

ICIQ_C3_05

Group Leader: Kilian Muñiz
Keywords: Homogeneous Catalysis, Synthetic Methodology Development, Natural Products, Amines, Nitrogenated Molecules, C-N Bonds, Halides

Description: The present project consists of the development of new synthetic methodology in the area of main group redox catalysis. It aims for the enantioselective synthesis of nitrogenated building blocks and their defined application in the total synthesis of biologically active alkaloid natural products. It will also be explored in late-stage amination technology for the synthesis, refinement and diversification of biomolecules.

ICIQ_C3_06

Group Leader: Arjan W. Kleij
Keywords: Terpenes, biopolymers, carbon dioxide, polycarbonates, polyesters, homogeneous catalysis

Description: In this project, we will prepare the polymers of the future using biobased formulations based on carbon dioxide and/or terpene structures. The focus will be on devising new efficient catalytic methods that can deliver polycarbonates and polyesters with mechanical and thermal resistance properties that can rival and even go beyond existing ones reported for commercial polymers based on fossil fuel feedstock. Specific attention will be given to techniques known as ROP and ROCOP to control the macromolecular polymer architecture, and to be able to fine-tune properties by a judicious choice of monomers and post-synthetic transformations. Candidates should have a strong background in polymer synthesis, catalysis and accompanying analytics.

ICIQ_C3_07

Group Leader: Anton Vidal
Keywords: Enantioselective catalysts, Allosteric control, Regulable ligands, (Hetero)cycles, API precursors

Description: The overarching topic of the project is to design and develop allosterically regulated non-natural enantioselective catalysts for synthetically valuable metal-mediated transformations. The project is related to an area of research in which cutting-edge chemistry combines concepts from supramolecular and physical organic chemistry with traditional approaches from enantioselective catalysis. Crucial aspects of this work include modular design of the catalysts; use of versatile synthetic procedures (organic and inorganic transformations, or supramolecular processes including understudied supramolecular interactions such as halogen bonding); incorporation of regulation mechanisms to optimize the geometry of the catalyst’s active-site; and computational study of their catalytic cycles (through collaborations). Research activities also endeavor to expand the scope of the developed catalysts to include the catalytic asymmetric synthesis of synthetic precursors of pharmaceutically active ingredients, and/or other biologically active compounds.

 

ICN2 has 17 research groups broadly categorised into five main fields of research: Theory and Simulation; NanoBioSensing Devices; Nanodevice Fabrication and Properties; Chemical Routes to Nanostructures; and Nanoscale Manipulation and Characterisation. These groups are supported by three specialised technical divisions (Nanoscience Instrument Development, Electron Microscopy, Nanomaterials Growth) and a general services division.

 

ICN2_C3_01: Phononic and Photonic Nanostructures

Group Leader: Clivia Sotomayor
Keywords: Optomechanics, Topology, Emitters, Disorder

Description: The coupling of electromagnetic radiation (photons) to mechanical waves (phonons) is at the heart of solid-state quantum photonics while phonon transport at different frequencies governs crucial physical phenomena ranging from thermal conductivity to the sensitivity of nano-electromechanical resonators. To engineer and control the overlap of light management with the mechanical vibrations of matter efficiently, we make use of very precisely fabricated nanometer-scale devices. The standard way of achieving this control is to use engineered defects in periodic structures – optomechanical crystals – where the electromagnetic field and the mechanical displacement can be confined simultaneously thus enhancing their interaction.

During this project, we will explore novel designs for optomechanical nanostructures and we will measure their mechanical and photonic properties in the lab. We will make use of ultrafast pump and probe techniques to explore the mechanical vibrations. In addition, the structures will contain active light-emitting materials which will allow us to get access to the photonic properties of the system. Our goals are:

1. Explore novel designs for optomechanical structures.
2. Measure the effect of the mechanical modes in the light-emission properties of these materials.
3. Measure the effect of the photonic modes in the lifetimes of the mechanical resonances.
4. Explore designs to obtain topological protection based on these novel structures. topological effects of these novel designs.
5. Measure topologically protected phononic and photonic modes in these structures

ICN2_C3_02: Nanobioelectronic and bioanalytical applications and Supramolecular NanoChemistry and Materials

Group Leaders: Laura M. Lechuga and Daniel Maspoch
Keywords: Photonic sensors, MOFs, gas/pollutant sensing, multiplexing sensing

Description: Development of photonic sensors using Metal-Organic Frameworks for Environmental monitoring.

This project proposes a complete new direction for solving the unmet need of high sensitivity synthetic sensors. The new sensor will combine MOFs synthetized with the right functionality and morphology to act as specific receptor and photonic transducers specially designed to include the MOFs receptor while affording a high level of sensitivity. This novel phenomena combination will allow detecting small molecules for environmental monitoring. The first application will be in the environmental field for in-situ detection of air and water pollutants.

ICN2_C3_03: Theory and Simulation Group

Group Leader: Pablo Ordejon
Keywords: First-principles simulations, quantum transport, spintronics, nanoelectronics, magnetism, thermal properties, topological materials, heterostructures, interfaces, nanomaterials, computational material design.

Description: Developments and applications of First-Principles methodologies for the investigation of electronic, magnetic, thermal and transport properties of materials at the nanoscale. Deployment of automatization and high-throughput protocols based on the SIESTA package. Development of analysis tools and workflows for computational materials design.

ICN2_C3_04: Physics and Engineering of Nanodevices (PEND)

Group Leader: Sergio O. Valenzuela
Keywords: Topological Insulators, Spintronics, Quantum Anomalous Hall effect, Two-dimensional materials and heterostructures, MBE growth, graphene, transition metal dichalcogenides

Description: Two-dimensional materials (2DM), such as graphene, are gaining relevance in the field of spintronics and metrology. In particular, they are emerging as viable alternatives to achieve the quantum anomalous Hall effect (QAHE) at higher temperatures than those observed with magnetically-doped three-dimensional topological insulators (Tis), and bring the concepts closer to applications. For this to be possible, large spin-orbit interaction (SOI) and magnetic correlations are necessary. These properties, which are absent in pristine graphene, can be imprinted onto it by close interaction with suitable materials. At PEND, we aim at establishing novel approaches for the implementation of nanodevices based on graphene, TIs and other 2DMs, from material deposition e.g. by MBE), to device design and fabrication. Spin-orbit and magnetic proximity effects will be investigated using insulating materials (possibly 2DMs) and deposition of metal atoms/clusters. The developed technology will have significant impact in metrology. The control of spin-orbit interaction and magnetism in graphene will also impact the field of spintronics, by enabling new routes for spin manipulation with great potential in low power electronics.

ICN2_C3_05: Theoretical and Computational Nanoscience Group

Group Leader: Stephan Roche
Keywords: Spin torque physics, advanced memory MRAM generation simulation, topological insulators, theory, quantum simulation, ab-initio and tight binding modelling

Description: The theoretical project will be focused on the modelling design of the next generation enhanced Spin-Orbit Torque (SOT) memory devices, including the search for suitable materials (topological insulators) with higher spin charge conversion efficiency and the analysis of the dominating mechanism to trigger the magnetisation switching. An accurate description of the material will be performed using density functional theory while the study of spin dynamics will be achieved with a non-equilibrium Green’s function formalism. The main objective of the project is to create a bridge between these two branches and produce a very powerful tool to study the crucial as well as subtle transport features of real materials and thus will be instrumental to reveal underlying interactions. One main advantage of this approach is here we can study the intrinsic contribution of SOT which plays a major role in the spin Hall effect (SHE) driven torque. Recently it has been found that sputtered Bi2Se3 7 can be an efficient source of SOT, however there is not theoretical model available to study such structural nonuniformity. Here the work will provide a perfect platform to study such systems.

ICN2_C3_06: Nanobioelectronics & Biosensors Group

Group Leader: Arben Merkoçi
Keywords: Nanobiosensors; nanomaterials; nanoparticles; 2D materials; diagnostics; paper-based sensors

Description: Nanobiosensors area has increased significantly, especially in diagnostics, since it has been shown that an early diagnosis can change dramatically the development of a disease. In particular, in the third world the availability of biosensors for the most common diseases could save many lives. Unfortunately, the cost of biosensors and the lack of equipped centers and trained people are probably the hardest obstacles to the diffusion of adequate biosensors in these regions. Nanomaterials (ex. nanoparticles, 2D materials) are bringing important advantages in the design of novel biosensing systems or improvements of the existing devices. Nanomaterial application for DNA, proteins and even cells are showing a great potential in enhancing biosensor sensitivity, stability and in general improvement of such devices. Coupling of nanomaterials-based detection technologies with paper/plastic-based microfluidics is of great interest to develop cost-effective diagnostics devices.

 

IRB Barcelona aims to answer fundamental questions in biomedicine and apply new knowledge to real issues in human health. Its current 24 groups are organised into five research programmes: Cell and Developmental Biology; Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology; Molecular Medicine; Structural and Computational Biology; and Oncology.

 

IRB_C3_01: Pulmonary fibrosis

Group Leader: Manuel Serrano
Keywords: senescence / plasticity / reprogramming / fibrosis /cancer / ageing

IRB_C3_02: Progenitor cells in Drosophila as in vivo paradigm of cell plasticity, multipotency and reprogramming

Group Leader: Jordi Casanova
Keywords: progenitor cells / cell plasticity / multipotency / Drosophila

Description: Because of its regenerative potential, multipotency has been the focus of extensive work in biomedicine research. However, we lack much knowledge of multipotent cells in their physiological context in the full organism and particularly about the features that allow them to overcome challenges and develop their full potential. In the lab we address these issues by exploiting the naturally occurring progenitor cells in Drosophila. In Drosophila, most larval cells die at the transition between larval and adult stages; only specific population of cells, namely the adult progenitor cells, remain quiescent and enter proliferation at different stages during larval life, survive pupariation and metamorphosis and eventually differentiate into the cells of the adult organism. We aim to exploit these progenitor cells to study fundamental questions of cell plasticity, multipotency and reprogramming with a specific developmental focus.

IRB_C3_03: Identification of tumor vulnerabilities from large cancer cohorts

Group Leader: Nuria Lopez-Bigas
Keywords: Cancer, cancer genome interpretation, personalized cancer medicine

Description: Identification of tumor vulnerabilities from large cancer cohorts
The interpretation of tumor genomes and transcriptomes in the clinic and in translational research is hindered by our relatively lack of knowledge on the relevance of their variants in sustaining their growth. To date, only few variants have been linked to the response –and the potential emergence of resistance– to anti-cancer drugs, as well as to metastasis. The role of variants that are currently of unknown significance for the tumor needs to be clarified in order to make the interpretation of newly sequenced cancer genomes straightforward. In this project, we propose to analyze thousands of cancer genomes which have been sequenced to date in order to reveal potential biomarkers of the vulnerabilities of tumors –ranging from their mutational processes to specific variants– that could aid in their interpretation. This knowledge will be incorporated into our Cancer Genome Interpreter (www.cancergenomeinterpreter) platform.

IRB_C3_04: Epigenetic influence of our diet in normal and metastatic stem cells.

Group Leader: Salvador Aznar Benitah
Keywords: Stem cells / cancer / aging / diet / epigenetics

Description: We study how adult stem cells work on a daily basis to maintain tissue integrity, and why they functionality fail during ageing and cancer. We pay particular attention in understanding how our diet epigenetically influences stem cell function in homeostasis and disease. We combine large-scale genomic and epigenetic studies, computational approaches, in vivo models, and patient-derived material for our studies.

IRB_C3_05: Computational mutation biology

Group Leader: Fran Supek
Keywords: DNA repair, mutagenesis, evolution, cancer, aging, genomics, biostatistics

Description: Combined experimental and computational approaches to elucidate mechanisms underlying mutator phenotypes in mammalian cells

IRB_C3_06: TGF-beta signalling in the tumor microenvironment: implications for tumor immunology and immunotherapy.

Group Leader: Eduard Batlle
Keywords: Colorectal cancer, Metastasis, Organoids, TGF-beta, Tumor microenvironment, Tumor immunology, Immunotherapy,

Description: Over the past few years, my lab has devoted a large effort to understand the determinants of metastatic dissemination in CRC. We discovered that metastasis in CRC is a cancer cell non-autonomous process that depends on a TGF-beta-driven gene program expressed in stromal cells. This phenomenon is the central feature of poor prognosis CRC molecular subtypes (Calon et al. Cancer Cell, 2012; Calon et al. Nature Genetics, 2015). In addition, we have recently developed a pre-clinical model of metastatic CRC that reproduces key features of poor prognosis CRC subtypes developed by patients (Tauriello et al. Nature 2018). By exploiting this model we discovered that elevated TGF-beta levels promote T cell exclusion and limit immune responses in metastatic CRC. This appears to be a general mechanism of immune evasion co-opted by multiple tumor types. Importantly, we also showed that therapies that combine TGF-beta inhibitors and immune checkpoint blockade eradicate metastatic disease in our CRC model systems. This combinatorial therapy is inspiring several clinical trials, some of which are already being implemented.

In spite of these advances, there are many open questions. Can we predict which patients will respond to dual TGF-beta/PDL1 therapy? Is it possible to modulate stroma-driven immune evasion by applying other classes of therapies? Current research in my laboratory is centered on better understanding tumor immunology with the ultimate goal to develop effective immunotherapies to treat late stage colorectal cancer, with a particular interest in the phenomena of disease relapse. We make use of state of the art technology, such as primary tumor 3D organoids, CRISPR/CAS modifications and RNAseq to address our objectives.

IRB_C3_07: Investigating the function of human Cancer-Testis genes in Drosophila models of malignant growth

Group Leader: Cayetano Gonzalez
Keywords: malignant growth, cancer testis antigens, Drosophila, l(3)mbt, cancer therapy, polarity, centrosome, neural stem cells

Description: The research project will be fully integrated into the main activities and interests of the laboratory. In our research group, we model cancer in flies to understand the cellular changes that drive malignant growth and to identify conserved mechanisms that might be relevant for human cancer therapy. We focus on the mechanisms of malignant transformation in larval brains. We have revealed that neuroblasts can originate tumours if the process of self-renewing asymmetric division is disrupted. We have discovered a fly model of human tumours characterized by the ectopic expression of Cancer Testis antigens and revealed a functional requirement for some of those genes for tumour growth. We have described a method to assay the tumourigenic potential of Drosophila mutant tissues. We also maintain a very active line of research to identify new centrosomal proteins and found some with human orthologs that are linked to human pathologies. We also work on the mechanisms that bring about genome instability in Drosophila tumours. For our research, we develop and make extensive use of cutting-edge microscopy techniques.

IRB_C3_08: Brain glycogen metabolism: physiological and pathological aspects.

Group Leader: Joan J. Guinovart
Keywords: Glycogen, brain metabolism, Neurodegeneration, ALS, Glycogenosis, Senescence, Glycogenin, Autophagy

Description: We aim to revisit key aspects of brain glycogen metabolism.Through a multidisciplinary approach, our objective is to define the physiological processes that regulate glycogen deposition, the consequences of its demise, and the therapeutic potential of its modulation. Detailed knowledge of these milestones will provide a means to prevent the formation of harmful glycogen aggregates, or even eliminate them. The objectives of our research are:
i) To characterise the physiological role of glycogen in the central nervous system, in particular in neurons
ii) To analyse the consequences of abnormal glycogen accumulation in the central nervous system in several neurodegenerative diseases
iii) To analyse the relation between glycogen metabolism and autophagy

IRB_C3_09: Dissecting stress-adaptation across eukaryotes

Group Leader: Eulàlia de Nadal and Francesc Posas
Keywords: Cell stress, Hog1 and p38 SAPK, signaling, gene expression, transcription, cell cycle control, cancer.

Description: We aim to unravel how cells detect and respond to environmental changes. We focus our studies on the characterisation of stress signal transduction pathways, especially those regulated by MAP kinases of the Hog1/p38 family, also known as the stress-activated MAP kinases (SAPKs). Proper adaptation to stress involves the modulation of several basic aspects of cell biology, among them the cell cycle and gene expression. Using S. cerevisiae budding yeast as a model organism, as well as higher eukaryotic cells, we are dissecting the molecular mechanisms underlying cell response to changes in the extracellular environment and characterising the adaptive responses required for cell survival.

Research lines:
SAPK targets: Using proteomics, biochemistry and genetics, our main goal is to identify new targets for SAPKs and thus widen our understanding of cellular adaptation to stress. This information is expected to facilitate the characterisation of the bases of adaptation in eukaryotes.
Cell cycle control: SAPKs act in several phases of the cell cycle to allow prompt response to extracellular stimuli and the maintenance of cell integrity. We are uncovering the mechanisms by which Hog1 and p38 SAPKs regulate the cell cycle.

Regulation of mRNA biogenesis: SAPKs control critical steps of mRNA biogenesis and are thus key regulators of stress-responsive gene expression. Our main aim is to determine the contribution of multiple factors to overall gene expression in response to stress. We are also using genome-wide CRISPR screening to identify essential genes for stress adaptation.

IRB_C3_10: Molecular mechanisms of signal integration during tumorigenesis

Group Leader: Angel R. Nebreda
Keywords: protein kinase, signal transduction, cell regulation, tumor development, cancer cell homeostasis, tumor microenvironment, targeted cancer therapy

Description: Molecular mechanisms of signal integration during tumorigenesis

IRB_C3_11: Luminal breast cancer heterogeneity: a tool for metastasis?

Group Leader: Roger R. Gomis
Keywords: Metastasis, Breast Cancer

Description: The mammary gland is composed of different cell lineages, including luminal cells (LCs) and basal cells. LCs act as the cancer cell-of-origin in the most common Breast Cancer (BCa) subtypes, and in particular those that also express estrogen receptor (ER). Even though patients with metastatic BCa have extremely low chances of survival, whether patterns of genomic evolution exist between primary and metastatic BCa is still unknown. Recent analyses indicate that clones that seed metastasis or relapse are late to disseminate from primary tumors but continue to acquire mutations after dissemination, mostly by accessing the same mutational processes active in the primary tumor. Most distant metastases have acquired driver mutations distinct from those in the primary tumor, allowing them to draw from a wider repertoire of cancer genes than early drivers. Whether cellular plasticity facilitates reciprocal cellular conversions across the various populations, or how these are related to active proliferation are some of the questions we aim to address.

 

IFAE_C3_01

Group Leaders: Sebastian Grinstein, Mario Martínez
Keywords: ATLAS; PIXEL ; SILICON ; VIRGO; GRAVITATIONAL WAVES; LHC; PHOTOSENSORS

Description: Silicon detectors are an increasingly important class of radiation and particle detection devices, with a broad spectrum of applications, from high energy physics to nuclear medicine. IFAE is working on silicon cutting-edge technologies for both the upgrade of the ATLAS experiment at the LHC and the upgrade of the VIRGO interferometer for gravitational waves detection. Ultra-radiation-hard pixelated 3D sensor modules fabricated at CNM-IFAE are already being used in the IBL and AFP ATLAS subsystems. In preparation for the HL-LHC period, IFAE is now leading the development of the next generation of 3D sensors and the low gain avalanche detectors for timing applications, and is developing a more cost effective approach based on depleted monolithic CMOS devices. IFAE is also exploring new and silicon-based photosensors for monitoring and suppressing the infrared stray light scattered close to VIRGO’s mirrors and affecting the sensitivity of the interferometer. These developments are also linked to possible applications beyond fundamental physics. The successful candidate will be expected to participate in one or more of the above-mentioned projects and will be encouraged to pursue her/his own research interests.

 

ICFO is devoted to the science and technologies of light with fundamental and applied research programmes that address issues such as health, renewable energies, information technologies, and security and industrial processes, among others. ICFO currently hosts more than 300 researchers organised into 23 research groups and 60 laboratories. For detailed information about specific groups or projects within these topics, please consult: https://www.icfo.eu/lang/research/groups

 

ICFO_C3-01: Biomedical Optics & Biophysics

Keywords: biomedical, optics, biophysics, microscopy, imaging, biology, physics, biomedicine, bionano, photonics, nanobiosensors, nanomaterials, diagnostics, clinical research, biological systems, nanoantennas, engineering

ICFO_C3-02: Optical Sensing, Optoelectronics & Photovoltaics

Keywords: optics, sensing, optoelectronics, photovoltaics, solar cells, materials, physics, engineering, chemistry, photonics, graphene, nanotechnology, 2D materials, quantum, nanoquantum, biological systems, engineering

ICFO_C3-03: Nonlinear Optics, Ultrafast Optics & Attoscience

Keywords: Keywords: nonlinear, optics, photonics, ultrafast, attophysics, attoscience, light-matter, solid state physics, laser science, laser physics, laser, physics

ICFO_C3-04: NanoPhotonics & NanoMechanics

Keywords: Nanophotonics, Nanotecnology, bionano, physics, biological systems, 2D materials, graphene, ultrafast, plasmonics, nanoscale photonics, nanotubes, resonators, light-matter, nanoantennas, engineering, photonics

ICFO_C3-05: Experimental Quantum Optics & Quantum Information

Keywords: quantum optics, quantum information, quantum engineering, quantum physics, quantum, physics, optics, photonics, solid state physics, quantum mechanics, cold atoms, ultracold atoms, quantum metrology

ICFO_C3-06: Theoretical Nanophotonics, Quantum Optics & Quantum Information

Keywords: quantum optics, quantum information, quantum engineering, quantum physics, quantum, physics, optics, photonics, theory, theoretical, attoscience, ultrafast, mathematics, graphene, materials, 2D materials, plasmonics, many-body, nanoquantum

Partner Institutions

The following partner institution are already available for undertaking secondments. The possibility of working with other partners can be explored during the fellowship.

ALBA Synchrotron Light Source
Cerdanyola de Vallès, ES (Barcelona)
www.albasynchrotron.es

BIOCAT
Barcelona, ES
www.biocat.cat

Cataloniabio
Barcelona, ES
www.cataloniabio.org

CRAC Career Development Organization
Cambridge, UK
www.crac.org.uk

Dark Energy Survey – University of Chicago
Chicago, USA
www.darkenergysurvey.org

Eurecat Technology Center
Barcelona, ES
www.eurecat.org

Helen and Martin Kimmel Center for Nanoscale Science
Weizmann Institute of Science, Materials and Interfaces Department
Rehovot, IL
www.weizmann.ac.il/kimmel-nano/

Hokkaido University, Faculty of Advanced Life Science
Sapporo, JP
www.altair.sci.hokudai.ac.jp/advlfsci/en/

Imperial College London, research group for high energy particle physics
London, UK
www.hep.ph.ic.ac.uk/~wascko/

Innovació I Recerca Industrial I Sostenible – IRIS
Castelldefels (Barcelona), ES
www.iris.cat

Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute – IDIBAPS)
Barcelona, ES
www.idibaps.org

Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia – IBEC
Barcelona, ES
www.ibecbarcelona.eu

Intelligent Pharma S.A.
Barcelona, ES
www.intelligentpharma.com

Iproteos S.L.
Barcelona, ES
www.iproteos.com

Laboratorios Dr. Esteve, S.A.U.
Barcelona, ES
www.esteve.com

Leitat Technology Center
Barcelona, ES
www.leitat.org

Michigan State University, Department of Physics and Astronomy
East Lansing, MI, USA
www.pa.msu.edu/

Mind the Byte, S.L.
Barcelona, ES
www.mindthebyte.com/

Mynoryx Therapeutics S.L.
Mataró (Barcelona), ES
www.mynoryx.com

Nanonica S.A.
Lugano, CH
www.nanonica.com

Radboud University Medical Center, Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
Nijmegen, NL
www.rimls.nl

Research Center of Vall d’Hebron – VHIR
Barcelona, ES
www.vhir.org

RMIT Europe
Barcelona,ES
www.rmit.edu.au

University of Toronto, Insitute of Particle Physics
Toronto, CA
www.physics.utoronto.ca

Eligibility Criteria

To be admitted to the review process, candidates must comply with the following eligibility criteria:

Mobility: To have not spent more than 12 months of the prior 36 months in Spain, at the time of the call deadline (November 26th, 2018)

PhD date certificate: PhD certificate should be obtained before your incorporation at the research centre, at maximum May 1st 2019. If you have not obtained your PhD at the time to submit your application, please indicate the likely date and provide documental evidence that you will obtain it.

• Publication as first author: To have at least one publication as main author (either accepted or published) in an international reputed journal at the time of the deadline.

• Letters of reference: To have submitted two reference letters at the time of the deadline

PhD degree: Having not been awarded your PhD degree more than 5 years, at the time of recruitment. Exceptions are made for documented periods of parental leave or serious illness. Other equivalent exceptions may be considered when properly documented and motivated by the applicant, e.g, in case of candidates from underdeveloped countries, minorities, and for applicants that pursued their studies under comparatively unfavourable conditions. Please provide evidence when you apply (for instance uploading additional documentation).

Evaluation & Selection

The evaluation of eligible candidates will be carried out by an external, independent selection panel. The evaluation will be objective, independent, and free of conflicts of interest. The selection will be based on merits, equal opportunities and freedom of choice of research.

Please, kindly note that you can select up to 3 topics in preference order on the online application form (from the same or different host centres) but you will only be evaluated by the review panel related to the centre hosting the topic you select as 1st choice.

The review procedure will be carried out in various steps:

Review Step 1: The selection panel is reviewing the documentation submitted with the application. The general suitability for PROBIST will be evaluated (review step 1) and pre-selected candidates will be invited to prepare a research proposal with the groups they want to be hosted at. A research proposal that is submitted needs to have the hosting commitment by the corresponding Group Leader. Presenting a research proposal is a requirement for being invited to the next review step (interview).

The evaluation criteria to be applied to review 1 are:

• Scientific achievements: results, previous research experience and skills, scientific results, awards, intersectoral and international links etc. (50%)
• References: referees’ evaluation, referees’ experience (25%)
• Motivation and potential impact on the candidate’s career (25%)

Only candidates with an initial evaluation of 50% or higher are considered “pre-selected” and shall pass to the next step.

Review Step 2: The selection panel will review the research proposals and interview the pre-selected candidates. The selection panel will make the decision on awardees, reserve list and rejected candidatures. Selected candidates (awardees) will be offered the grant. Rejected offers may be offered to candidates from the reserve list.

The evaluation criteria to be applied to review 2 are:
• Scientific achievements (40%): assessed based on application material and panel interview: scientific results, references, previous research experience and skills, as well as fellowships and awards that had been obtained in the past.
• Scientific merit of the research proposal (30%): Scientific quality and originality of the proposal.
• Impact on the candidate’s career development and prospective, as well as strategic relevance (30%): increased learning curve of the candidate; expose to new ideas and areas; interaction with different groups and centres, internationalization strategy, tech transfer (where applicable), etc.

Intended re-integration of scientists after a career break is encouraged. Equal opportunities is a principle for the selection process. BIST and the participating centres aim at equal gender balance and pay special attention to candidatures coming from unfavourable conditions.

Due to the large amount of applications received in previous calls, only applicants passing to subsequent evaluation steps will be informed on the progress at all stages of the process. The candidates being interviewed will receive an evaluation report for their candidature should they request it. The default means for communication is e-mail through fellows@bist.eu.

Submitting an Application

Preparing an application

The on-line submission platform for the first call will be open from October 2nd, 2018. The deadline for the submission of applications is November 26, 2018 at noon (CET).

Please check the specific call parameters for detailed timelines and research topics.

Before start applying, please carefully read the below instructions.

Start your application now

Applications checklist for the initial submission:
By the deadline, the following documentation and information needs to be presented to be eligible:

1. Application form on personal data (online form to be filled in)

• Basic personal data and contact information

2. Application form on background (online form to be filled in)

• Specific background information on PhD title, previous works, results, awards, etc.
• Upload of the PhD certificate or substituting document issued by the corresponding University or evidence on expected date for submission.
• Indication of the preferred research topics (up to 3 topic in preference order)
• Indication of 2 reference persons who endorse your candidature
• Additional information relevant for the application and the eligibility, if applicable

3. Letter of motivation (document upload)

• The cover letter addresses research interests and motivation for the application, as well as the applicant’s background and suitability for the fellowship.

4. Curriculum Vitae (document upload)

• Applicants should indicate their scientific and professional trajectory and include information on publications, awards or other scientific merits. Candidates with career breaks or variations in the chronological sequence of their career steps are welcome to apply.

Applications cannot be updated after the submission. Only complete applications are eligible.

After the deadline, applicants will be checked for eligibility. Non-eligible applicants will be rejected. The eligible candidates will be reviewed by the selection panel. Suitable candidates will be invited to present a research proposal with the group(s) of their choice for the second review stage (pre-selected candidates).

Requirements for the second review stage

The pre-selected candidates will receive the group leader’s contact details of the research groups of their interest. They are given 3 weeks to prepare a 2 page research proposal with the group. Candidates whose research proposals pose ethical concerns must indicate this in their proposal. In any case an ‘Ethical Issues Form’ needs to be filled in and uploaded on the submission platform as part of the application. A research proposal that is finally submitted needs to have the hosting commitment of the corresponding group leader, in case of being finally selected. Presenting a proposal is a requirement for being invited to an interview.

The pre-selected candidates who have presented a valid research proposal will then be invited to an interview at the centre(s) where they have obtained a hosting commitment. The dates for the interview are published in the call information when the call is opened. Interviews should be on-site but can be remote if constraints exist. The focus will be on:

• The candidates’ presentations of an executive summary of their background and research experience so far,
• Their justification of motivation for applying to the fellowship, as well as the expected impact it would have on their career prospective,
• The candidates’ presentations of the research proposal.

As a tentative schedule, the interview will last 20 minutes plus 15 minutes of questions and answers.

Successful candidates will be awarded the fellowship or put onto a reserve list according to a shortlist created by the selection panel. Candidates not passing the 70% evaluation threshold will be rejected. Rejected candidates have the right to appeal in justified cases, like evidence of bias or conflict of interest by evaluators, evidence of failure to have reasonably followed the published evaluation procedure, factual errors by evaluators that have substantially altered the outcome of evaluation.

Awardees will be offered the fellowship that they would need to accept or reject within 1 week after the offer. Accepting the offer will start the incorporation process.

All personal data will be treated confidentially.

Start your application now

After Application

Redress procedure
In case you consider it necessary to redress the evaluation result, please direct your request through our contact form on www.bist.eu/probist indicating the programme (PROBIST) and the call deadline. Please state clearly the reasons for your redress. Only justified requests that indicate serious doubts with complying the principles applicable to the evaluation and selection procedure can be taken into account and evaluated.

Incorporation 
Accepting the offer of the grant will start the incorporation process.

Requirements for starting your fellowship, in case of being selected:
• You will have to take care of obtaining Visa, work permit and the Spanish Social Security number. You will also need to register residency in Spain in order to obtain the necessary tax number. Your future host organization will provide support and orientation where possible.
• Sign a work contract with the host centre. The place of work will be at the host centre. The usual working conditions of the host apply to your fellowship.

Living and working in Barcelona
An exhaustive description on work and life in Catalonia can be found here.

Post award requirements
The fellows will participate in the generation of the scientific and review reports for the European Commission wherever this is necessary. The European Commission or BIST may require to give feedback on the program and the personal experience of the fellow in it. Both can be necessary during and after the fellowship. In particular, the PROBIST Fellows will need to prepare a final report after the completion of their fellowship. This report should arrive the BIST project manager no later than eight weeks after the end of the fellowship.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will the calls for the PROBIST postdoctoral fellowship program be?

Call 1: 01/09/2017, deadline 01/11/2017 end of the day CET, selection 01/2018, incorporation foreseen for 03 to 04/2018 (*)

Call 2: 20/02/2018, deadline 20/04/2018 end of the day CEST, interviews 07/2018, incorporation foreseen for 08 to 09/2018 (*)

Call 3: 02/10/2018, deadline 26/11/2018 noon, CET, interviews 02/2019, incorporation foreseen from 04/2019 (*)

(*) the exact date of incorporation will be agreed with the host centre once the award is granted. The indicated entry dates are tentative and may be negotiated with the corresponding host centre in justified cases.

How many PROBIST fellowships are available?

The program will fund 61 fellowships of 3 years duration, distributed in 4 calls until the end of 2018.

How do I apply?

Applications need to be presented through the BIST online submission platform. Please read with attention the “Submitting an application” section before you apply to make sure you can meet the call’s requirements.

Which research projects are offered for the fellowships?

Applicants freely choose the research thematic area, research topic and hosting group they want to apply for. After a first review step for general suitability for the PROBIST program, pre-selected candidates will be given the contacts of PROBIST participating group leaders at the BIST centres. They then shall present a 2 page research proposal with their group(s) of interest. Only research proposals that have the hosting commitment of a BIST centre research group can be submitted to the second stage review, where they will have to defend their proposal in an interview.

Which are the participating centres hosting the fellowships?

• The Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO)
• Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ)
• Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2)
• Institute for High Energy Physics (IFAE)
• Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

How can I contact the Scientists willing to host a fellowship I am interested in?

After your application including general documentation like an application questionnaire, a cover letter, a CV and at least 2 referee contacts, a review of the presented documentation on general suitability for the PROBIST program will be carried out. Suitable pre-selected candidates will be given the contacts of PROBIST participating group leaders at the BIST centres and can freely contact the groups of their interest.

Where can I carry out the fellowship and what are the conditions?

PROBIST fellowships will be placed within the host group the successful candidate has chosen during the application process. The working contract will be between the host centre and the fellow. BIST itself will not contract fellows directly.

The specific working conditions of the host centre and the MSCA-COFUND program apply. All participating centres have obtained the “HR Excellence in Research” recognition or have corresponding action plans ongoing. Annual gross salary: 36.000€ plus a single allowance of 1500€ relocation support (Spanish tax and social security deductions apply).

The fellow will receive close mentoring and supervision through prestigious Senior Researchers, a personalized career development plan and a training program for scientific and transferable skills.

What will be my salary? How much is the fellowship worth?

Annual gross salary: 36.000€ plus a single allowance of 1500€ relocation support (Spanish tax and social security deductions apply).

We can’t indicate the precise net salary. It very much depends on your particular situation and additional incomes you might have. You can estimate it yourself through the following web:

http://www.calcularsueldoneto.com/csn-en-calculate-net-salary.php

The estimated net figures there are only informative, tentative and not binding for the final fellowship.

Can the PROBIST fellowship be prolonged?

The duration the fellowship is 36 months and usually cannot be prolonged.

What are the eligibility criteria?

The eligibility criteria can be found in the “Eligibility Criteria” section

Can I apply if I have lived or worked in Spain previously?

If you have worked in Spain for more than 12 months out of the last 36 months at the date of the call deadline, you are not eligible for PROBIST.

Can I apply if I do not have my PhD diploma yet?

To be eligible, PhD certificate should be obtained before your incorporation at the research centre, at maximum May 1st 2019. If you have not obtained your PhD at the time to submit your application, please indicate the likely date and provide documental evidence that you will obtain it.

What kind of PhD do I have to hold?

Your scientific achievements should be relevant for the topics you are interested to work on. Otherwise you would have difficulties to obtain a sufficient score for a competitive candidature. Apart from this competitive factor and the general eligibility criteria there are no formal restrictions to your PhD.

I would like to do my PhD at a BIST centre. Is there also a pre-doctoral program?

Yes, please follow this link to the PREBIST pre-doctoral fellowship program.

How do I get access to the application platform?

After having checked the requirements for a successful application you can start the submission process on our website. The platform will guide you through the process. You will be asked to answer an application questionnaire and to upload documentation. You can save and complete your application any time until the call deadline. Only complete applications are eligible for further review.

The application platform will be open for submission from the official call opening date to the call deadline.

For pre-selected candidates the platform will be opened again after the deadline for presenting additional documentation (research proposal, ethical issues questionnaire).

What is the exact deadline?

Call 1: opens 01/09/2017, deadline 01/11/2017 end of the day CET
Call 2: opens 20/02/2018, deadline 20/04/2018 end of the day CEST
Call 3: opens 02/10/2018, deadline 26/11/2018 noon, CET

Are referees mandatory and will they be contacted?

You will be asked to present the contact of at least two referees for your application. As the referees are important for the evaluation of your application, it is mandatory to provide sufficient contact details. The referees will be contacted by BIST after you have validated your application in the on‐line system. The referees will receive an e‐mail with a request to answer a questionnaire and to provide a recommendation letter before the call deadline via the online submission platform. It is the applicant’s responsibility that referees provide the necessary information and documentation before the call deadline. Once you have submitted your application you will be able to follow in the system if your referees have submitted a statement or letter. You can send them a reminder if necessary.

Not having presented two referees will be considered as incomplete applications. Not obtaining sufficient feedback from your referees may negatively impact on the evaluation of your candidature.

What are the structure and the formal requirements for the project description and the CV?

Any CV design is allowed but please make sure that key aspects of your career (trajectory, publications, awards, etc.) are easy to find and understand. The file format of all uploaded documents ideally should be pdf.

What are the different steps in the selection process?

The evaluation of eligible candidates will be carried out by an external, independent selection panel. The evaluation will be objective, independent, free of conflicts of interest and the selection will be based on merits, equal opportunities and freedom of choice of research.

The review procedure will be carried out in various steps:
• First review by the selection panel reviewing the documentation submitted with the application. General suitability for PROBIST will be evaluated.
• Invitation of pre-selected candidates to prepare a research proposal with the groups they want to be hosted at. A research proposal that is finally submitted needs to have the hosting commitment by the corresponding GL. Presenting a proposal is a requirement for being invited to the next step (interview).
• Second review by the selection panel: interviews and presentation of the research proposal.
• Decision on awardees, reserve list and rejected candidatures.
Selected candidates (awardees) will be offered the grant. Rejected offers may be offered to candidates from the reserve list.

What are the evaluation criteria?

The evaluation criteria to be applied to review 1 are:

• Scientific achievements: results, previous research experience and skills, scientific results, awards, intersectoral and international links etc. (50%)
• References: referees’ evaluation, referees’ experience (25%)
• Motivation and potential impact on the candidate’s career (25%)

The evaluation criteria to be applied to review 2 are:

• Scientific achievements (40%): assessed based on application material and panel interview: scientific results, references, previous research experience and skills, as well as fellowships and awards that had been obtained in the past.
• Scientific merit of the research proposal (30%): Scientific quality and originality of the proposal.
• Impact on the candidate’s career development and prospective, as well as strategic relevance (30%): increased learning curve of the candidate; expose to new ideas and areas; interaction between different groups and centres, internationalization strategy, tech transfer (where applicable), etc.

The panels will provide qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the candidates based on these criteria.

Intended re-integration of scientists after a career break is encouraged. Equal opportunities is a principle for the selection process. BIST and the participating centres aim at equal gendar balance and pay special attention to candidatures coming from unfavourable conditions.

Is it possible to update my application after the submission?

No, modifications will not be accepted after the call deadline. Pre-selected candidates, however, will be able to upload additional information and documents.

How do I know about the state of my application?

Applicants will be informed on the progress at all stages of the process. The candidates being assessed in the second review stage will receive an evaluation report for their candidature. E-mail is the main instrument for communication during the process.

When is the result communicated?

Candidates are informed approximately 2 to 3 months after the call deadline whether they will be granted fellowship. The result can be an offer by BIST, forming part of the reserve list, or a rejection.

Candidates being offered the grant should actively accept the offer within a week. Otherwise reserve list candidates may be contacted. Once you accepted the grant you will receive an appointment letter.

When should the fellowship start? When should be the incorporation to the host centre?

You can start immediately the preparation of formal issues (work permits, visa etc.) after you have received the appointment for the grant. It is expected you to start two months after having received the appointment letter. In any case, fellowships should not start later than 6 months after having received the appointment letter.

Where can I find practical information regarding living and working in Spain?

An excellent updated guide on all you have to know before you arrive can be found on the website of the Catalonian Government.

What languages do you speak?

English is the language required at least for working at the BIST centres. Sound command of English is a requirement for effective work in the fellowship.

For your information we state that in Catalonia dominate 2 official languages: Spanish and Catalan. Although you do not need to be able to speak Spanish or Catalan to begin your fellowship, for your own interest we strongly encourage to learn these languages.

Awardees

Awardees’ names will be posted soon.

Institutional Members of the Board of Trustees