Molecular biology in Schizophrenia

REF: PhD 06
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Hours of work:
37.5 hours per week (exluding lunch hours)
Annual leave:
24 days per annum plus statutory days
Villarroel 170, 08036 Barcelona
Accountable to:
Amalia Lafuente / Miquel Bernardo
Up to 3 years, by IDIBAPS
38.000 € plus housing facilities


Job summary

1. A postdoctoral position is available in Professor Lafuente’s laboratory. The position involves working wit a team of scientists studying Pharmacogenetics in Schizophrenia.

The programme is a continuation of work recently published in Schizophrenia Research .90:115-122 (2007) (also in Pharmacogenomics J, 9, 404-410 (2009), Am J Med Genet B DOI 10.1002/ajmg.b.31073 (2010) and Eur Neuropsychopharmacol DOI 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2010.06.006 (2010)), which has shown (in these and other articles) that dopamine- related genes are associated with the risk of schizophrenia and also with extrapyramidalism –derived from antipsychotic treatment.

Briefly, our preliminary results indicate that genetic polymorphisms favouring the presence of dopamine in the synapse may be risk factors for schizophrenia. Moreover, genetic polymorphisms that favour occupation of the dopamine receptor by antipsychotic drugs (AP) instead of occupation by dopamine are risk factors for extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) induced by AP. These studies were based on functional variants of candidate genes although we did not examine the variability in the entire gene.

The purpose of this programme of work will be to extend and improve previous results studying either:

  • linkage disequilibrium (LD) mapping in candidate genes,
  • copy number variations,
  • epigenetics: methylation of promoters (Illumina Golden Gate Methylation Panel Array), genomic methylation (ELISA Kit), genomic imprinting (bisulfite sequencing of H19/IGF2 locus), X chromosome inactivation (HUMARA test) and telomere methylation (bisulfite sequencing of telomer regions of chromosomes 2, 4 and 18).
  • Mitochondrial dynamics in response to dopamine and AP,
  • Identify new candidate genes through a translational strategy of convergent functional genomics, which integrates pharmacogenomic data (from animal models, cellular models and peripheral human tissues, cross-validated with genetic data from human association studies, post-mortem human tissues and biological function).

2. The project is likely to involve some or all of the following techniques:

  • PCR, real time PCR (sequentiation)
  • Arrays
  • Cell culture

Main Duties

To conduct research investigating candidate must :

Duties and Responsabilities

  • To contribute to the design and planning of experiments in relation to this project
  • To develop a thorough understanding of the research field and be involved in the intellectual decision making process required for successful completion of the project
  • To set up and run experiments in consultation with the Principal Investigator
  • To record, analyse and write up the results of experiments and ensure that laboratory notebooks are kept fully up to date as a formal record of the research
  • To prepare and present findings of research to the Principal Investigator and other members of the centre
  • To prepare progress reports on research
  • The post holder may be required to perform some limited teaching and/or supervision of other members of staff and/or students, under the guidance of the Principal Investigator
  • Responsible for ensuring that designated equipment is safe and maintained in good working order
  • As duties and responsibilities change, the job description will be reviewed and amended in consultation with the post holder
  • The post holder will carry out any other duties that are within the scope, spirit and purpose of the job, as requested by the Principal Investigator

Person specification

Knowledge and Qualifications
  • Undergraduate degree in a life science discipline
  • PhD in an appropiate life science discipline
  • Basic knowledge of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology
  • Publications in high impact factor peer reviewed journals
  • Abilitity to develop ideas logically and design experiments to test hypotheses
  • Ability to modify and apply new methods to advance a project
  • Ability to analyse and write up data for presentations and publications
  • Ability to present complex information effectively to a range of audiences
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Record of delivering high quality research
  • Research skills in genetics
  • Expertise in Molecular Biology
  • Ability to direct junior members of the laboratory in simple laboratory procedures

Experience of working in a research environment


Experience of multi-disciplinary working

Personal Qualities
  • Comitment to high quality research
  • Ability to work effectively as part of the team
  • Ability to work independently and to use own initiative when required
(Read eligibility criteria)