gen 232015

PhD position in Biochemistry and Protein Chemistry at the University of Milano Bicocca within the Marie Curie ETN EU project 642157 – TOLLerant (Toll-Like Receptor 4 activation and function in diseases: an integrated chemical-biology approach)

TOLLerant ( is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (MSCA-ITN) coordinated by the University of Milano Bicocca (UNIMIB). The multidisciplinary research project is focused on the study of molecular mechanisms of innate immunity, in particular Toll-like Receptor 4 (TLR4) activation and signaling and its therapeutic targeting.
A PhD positions in Biochemistry is available at UNIMIB starting from spring 2015 for 36 months. The candidate will be inserted in the doctoral program in Biotechnology-Biology of the University of Milano Bicocca. We expect highly motivated PhD candidates, able to work in a collaborative environment and exposed to multidisciplinary and inter-sectoral challenges.
TOLLerant network consists of 8 academic and 2 industrial full partners representing 5 countries all across Europe and 3 associate partners, 2 from Europe and one from USA. The PIs expertise covers all areas of chemistry, biology, immunology, biochemistry, medicine and biophysics. In total, 13 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) will be appointed by the TOLLerant consortium.

Job Description
The work of PhD will focus on the expression and purification of innate immunity receptors TLR4, MD-2 and CD14 and in the characterization of receptors interaction with small molecules. The PhD candidate should have experience in Biochemistry, with particular focus on protein chemistry, protein expression and purification, in vitro binding tests.
The short-term scientific objective of TOLLerant is to develop novel, non-toxic, synthetic and natural TLR4 modulators (agonists or antagonists) and to assess their therapeutic potential on animal models of TLR4-related acute and chronic pathologies. The long-term scientific objective is to develop a new generation of innovative, TLR4-based therapeutics, to be used as vaccine adjuvants, anti-sepsis agents, and as drugs targeting an array of diseases that still lack efficient and specific pharmacological treatment such as autoimmune disease, chronic inflammations, neuroinflammations and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
The training program will provide PhD students with broad competences, experience and skills in the cutting-edge, inter-disciplinary research in the field of chemical biology related to the molecular mechanisms of innate immunity and inflammation. The industrial sector will be committed to provide PhD students with entrepreneurship and company management skills, in order to enhance their employability by the private sector or even to motivate them to create own start-up companies. The project implies a series of secondments at academic partner labs in Spain, Belgium, Slovenia, Germany and in the labs of industrial partners in Spain and Italy.

Applicants should meet the following eligibility criteria:
• Have, at the time of recruitment by the host arganization, less than 4 years research experience (measured from the time the Master’s degree has been obtained).
• Not have a PhD already.
• Not have resided or carried out main activity in Italy for more than 12 months in the last 3 years immediately prior to the reference recruitment date.
• Excellent knowledge of the English language (spoken and written / proficiency level)

Application procedures and how to apply
Applicants should send the following documents via email to Prof. Francesco Peri, Department of Biotechnology and Biosciences, University of Milano Bicocca:
1. A complete CV (personal details, academic/education history, research experience, experimental skills, publications etc)
2. Two letters of recommendations
3. Letter of motivation (research interests, reasons for applying for this program and the host / host institute)
According to the MSCA-ITN rules of Horizon 2020 program, € 3110/month (gross amount, adjusted to country coefficient) + Mobility + Family Allowance (if applicable).

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