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Postdoctoral Fellow at the ULB Center for Diabetes Research (Eizirik's group)

Job Summary

One postdoctoral fellow position is available at the ULB Center for Diabetes Research, Brussels, Belgium ( We are looking for a highly motivated researcher to join the lab of Dr. Decio Eizirik. This lab aims to clarify the mechanisms of pancreatic beta cell dysfunction and death in type 1 diabetes mellitus, with focus on endoplasmic reticulum stress, alternative splicing and other mechanisms that may contribute to beta cell death and generation of neoantigens.

The selected candidate will participate in a team working with primary human and iPSC-derived islets, animal models of diabetes and human beta cell lines, and advanced molecular biology techniques. A strong understanding of beta cell biology and/or molecular biology is important. The selected candidate will be motivated and take initiative in proposing and performing experiments, with support by Dr Eizirik and other colleagues in the lab.
Applications can be made directly to Dr Eizirik at The position is funded by ongoing JDRF and NIH grants.

Responsibilities and Duties
Primary responsibilities include:
  • Develop and conduct state of the art scientific experiments with human primary and iPSC-derived islets and cell lines, initially with supervision and then progressively independent work, including:
    • Cell isolation/culture
    • Develop cell-based functional and viability assays for evaluating beta cell responses to stress
    • Characterize gene and protein expression in stressed and physiological beta cells
  • Accurately document and publish research findings
  • Actively support applications for grants and sponsored research funding proposals.

Qualifications and Skills
Specific skills and qualifications for the position include:
  • PhD in Biology, Biochemistry or a related field is required
  • Relevant experience in molecular biology is required; experience with iPSC is a plus, but the candidate can learn the required techniques at our iPSC Core;
  • Strong skills in beta cell isolation/ culture is a plus
  • Experience with bioinformatics is a strong plus

Interested individuals are encouraged to provide a brief letter stating their accomplishments and interest in the lab’s research, curriculum vitae, and a list of three references.

Call for applications for a post-doctoral research fellowship

Applications are invited for a 2-year post-doctoral position at the ULB Center for Diabetes Research, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium. The ULB Center for Diabetes Research is an internationally renowned laboratory, hosting around 35 members across 4 collaborating research teams focused on type 1, type 2 and monogenic forms of diabetes.

The Cnop team studies pancreatic β-cell failure, a process underlying the development and progression of most if not all types of diabetes. To gain further insight in the pathways of β-cell failure and to test novel therapies, she has implemented the technology to differentiate patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) into human β-cells.

The post-doctoral application is invited within the Win2Wal project “BetaSource: Technological platform of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived human islets of Langerhans for diabetes drug discovery”, funded by the Belgian Walloon Region and our industrial partner Ncardia. Diabetes research has long been hampered by the limited access to the diseased tissue, i.e. human islets of Langerhans. In the BetaSource project, we will develop highly differentiated, standardized and well characterized iPSC-derived human islet organoids. We will use CRISPR/Cas9 to introduce or correct genetic risk variants, to generate a species-, cell-, and disease-specific disease-in-a-dish model that constitutes the best possible system to discover novel therapies for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

The candidate will hold a PhD degree and have a strong interest in diabetes research, with the ability to work autonomously and as part of our iPSC team. Experience in stem cell biology, pancreatic b cells and molecular biology will be a major advantage. Knowledge of French is a plus.

The position is currently open and can be filled immediately. Applications are accepted until the position is filled. Please email a letter of interest, curriculum vitae (including publication list), and the name of 3 reference persons (with email address and telephone number) to:

Miriam Cnop, MD PhD

ULB Center for Diabetes Research, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium

Selected publications:

  • Cosentino C*, Toivonen S*, Diaz Villamil E, Atta M, Ravanat JL, Demine S, Schiavo A, Pachera N, Deglasse JP, Jonas JC, Balboa D, Otonkoski T, Pearson ER, Marchetti P, Eizirik DL, Cnop M** and Igoillo-Esteve M**. Pancreatic b cell tRNA hypomethylation and fragmentation link TRMT10A deficiency with diabetes. Nucleic Acids Res 2018, 46:10302-10318. Shared *first and **corresponding authorship

  • Igoillo-Esteve M*, Oliveira AF, Cosentino C, Fantuzzi F, Demarez C, Toivonen S, Hu A, Chintawar S, Lopes M, Pachera N, Cai Y, Abdulkarim B, Rai M, Marselli L, Marchetti P, Tariq M, Jonas JC, Boscolo M, Pandolfo M, Eizirik DL and Cnop M*. Exenatide induces frataxin expression and improves mitochondrial function in Friedreich ataxia. JCI Insight 2020, 5:e134221. Shared *corresponding authorship

  • Demine S, Schiavo AA, Marín-Cañas S, Marchetti P, Cnop M and Eizirik DL. Pro-inflammatory cytokines induce cell death, inflammatory responses and endoplasmic reticulum stress in human iPSC-derived beta cells. Stem Cell Res Ther 2020, 11:7.

  • De Franco E*, Lytrivi M*, Ibrahim H*, Montaser H*, Wakeling M*, Fantuzzi F*, Patel K, Demarez C, Cai Y, Igoillo-Esteve M, Cosentino C, Lithovius V, Vihinen H, Jokitalo E, Laver TW, Sawatani T, Shakeri H, Pachera N, Haliloglu B, Nuri Ozbek M, Unal E, Yıldırım R, Godbole T, Yildiz M, Aydin B, Bilheu A, Suzuki I, Flanagan SE, Vanderhaeghen P, Senée V, Julier C, Marchetti P, Eizirik DL, Ellard S, Saarimäki-Vire J, Otonkoski T**, Cnop M** and Hattersley AT**. YIPF5 mutations cause neonatal diabetes and microcephaly through endoplasmic reticulum stress. J Clin Invest, in press. Shared *first and **corresponding authorship

  • Eizirik DL, Pasquali L and Cnop M. Pancreatic b cells in type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus: different pathways to failure. Nat Rev Endocrinol 2020, 16:349-362.

Laboratory technician (Fixed-term contract, Full time)


Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are a new tool to study diseases in a species-, cell- or disease-specific manner. This technology was established at the ULB Center for Diabetes Research to study diabetes. For this purpose, skin fibroblasts and blood mononuclear cells from healthy people and diabetic patients are reprogrammed into iPSCs, conferring them the quality of pluripotency. These iPSCs are then differentiated “in vitro” into pancreatic β cells. In recent years, we have established a fully equipped and functional iPSC laboratory. iPSCs from healthy individuals and diabetic patients are successfully differentiated there. This revolutionary “disease-in-a-box” model is currently used to :

  • Study the pathogenic mechanisms of diabetes.
  • Discover new biomarkers for β-cell dysfunction and death.
  • Develop clinical imaging tools for β-cells.
  • Testing new therapeutic approaches.

Human iPSCs are also transplanted into immunodeficient mice, providing an in vivo model for long-term administration of glucose-lowering drugs.

This activity is currently in full development and the laboratory is looking for technical support for this purpose.

Job summary

  • Mission 1: to provide technical support for research activities: preparation of culture media, dissolution of molecules, work on rodents, microscopy, performance of various tests, development and improvement of experimental techniques, assistance, and support to researchers.
  • Mission 2 : Participation in quality control and daily maintenance of iPSC lines
  • Mission 3: Practical management of the laboratory: managing the stock of equipment (inventory), checking the proper functioning of the machines, maintenance, and cleaning of the handling areas, etc.


Level of diploma: Bachelor’s degree A1 (3 years of study) in biological, biochemical or similar sciences.

Note: applications with a higher level of education than that required in the job offer will not be considered in the pre-selection).

Previous laboratory experience is an asset.

Education: Biological, biochemical or related sciences.

General knowledge and skills

  • Knowledge of and compliance with GLP Good Laboratory Practice (L2 laboratory work is an asset) – required
  • Good knowledge of English (communication in an international environment) – required
  • Ability to work with laboratory animals (mice) in an animal facility (possession of the Certificate of Competence FSTAL is required) – required

Behavioural attitudes (interpersonal skills)

  • Organisation and rigour
  • Good communication and team spirit
  • Autonomy and reliability
  • Sense of professional responsibility
  • Scientific spirit and involvement: reflection, questioning, critical sense


  • Certificate in Laboratory Animal Science and Technology (FSTAL)
  • Minimum 1 year experience in a research laboratory is an asset
  • Provide at least one professional reference

How to apply

Applications are accepted until the position is filled. Please e-mail a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, and the name of 1-2 reference persons (with email address and telephone number) to:
Isabelle Millard, Lab Manager
ULB Center for Diabetes Research, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium