Predoctoral researcher in Cellular and molecular mechanobiology. Proyecto de Generación de Conocimiento 2022 by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation

  • Barcelona
  • Oct 15, 2023

Website IBEC

Introduction to the vacant position:

The Cellular and Molecular Mechanobiology Group is looking for a Pre-doctoral Researcher to work on nuclear mechanobiology. The cell nucleus is a central decision hub in cells, receiving inputs from the cell environment and integrating them to control cell function. In recent years, it has become clear that the nucleus receives not only biochemical signals but also mechanical forces, and that these forces regulate nuclear function. This implies that there are likely multiple regulatory mechanisms deciding when and how forces reach the nucleus, with potential implications in diseases such as cancer or fibrosis, where there are major mechanical alterations to tissues.
The candidate will carry out a PhD focused on the process of mechanotransduction, which is the conversion of mechanical forces into downstream biochemical signals (such as for instance transcription). More specifically, the candidate will explore different mechanisms by which cells can regulate whether forces reach or not the nucleus, and for how long. This will be studied in the context of fibroblasts and mesenchymal cells in a pancreatic cancer setting, which is characterized by a dramatic alteration in tissue mechanical properties.
This fellowship is associated with the research project Generación de Conocimiento, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.

Main tasks and responsibilities:
• Work with a model system of fibroblasts due to their robust mechanical responses, and their involvement in pathologies such as cancer or fibrosis, with well-established mechanically-dependent functions (such as matrix remodelling).
• Establish a toolset for probing ECM-nucleus mechanical coupling, involving mechanical and molecular techniques.
• Unveil how ECM-nucleus mechanical coupling regulates mechanotransduction.
• Assess the functional consequences of ECM-nucleus mechanical coupling.
• Focus on events known to be triggered by mechanical force application to the nucleus. This includes nuclear translocation of transcription factors, activation of calcium signalling, changes in chromatin methylation, and DNA damage.
Requirements for candidates:
• Degree in physics or biology-related topics (physics, biology, biomedical engineering, biomedicine…).
• Candidates should be ready to enter an official doctoral programme on December 2023 (under Spanish Law). By this time, they must have obtained a university degree and a master’s degree; or must hold an official university qualification from a country of the European Higher Education Area with a minimum of 300 ECTS of official university studies, of which at least 60 are at master’s level. Candidates who expect to be awarded with such degrees by October 2023 are eligible to apply.

• Candidates must have a strong commitment to scientific research and an excellent academic record.
• Candidates must have a good working knowledge of English.
• Candidates must not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree.
• Candidates must not have held a Ph.D. contract exceeding twelve months by the beginning of the fellowship (December 2023 to January 2024).
• Good skills in communication, teamwork, proactivity, characterisation, integrity, time management, critical and analytical thinking, precision, and focus.
For the conditions, requirements, details of the research project and other relevant data, please check the general call Proyectos de Generación de Conocimiento 2022 by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation at

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