Role of endogenous modulators (prostanoids, glucocorticoids) in the regulation of airway inflammation and airway mucus secretion

REF: PhD 07
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:
Professor Cesar Picado
Up to 3 years, by IDIBAPS
38.000 € plus housing facilities


Job summary

1. A postdoctoral position is available in Professor Cesar Picado laboratory. The position involves working wit a team of scientists studying “Endogenous modulators (prostanoids, glucocorticoids) involved in the regulation of airway inflammation and airways mucus secretion”.

The programme is a continuation of work recently published in: Eur Respir J 2009;33:502-8; Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2009;149:323-32; Respir Res 2008;9:72; Allergy 2008;63:1377-86, and Allergy 2008;63:1368-76, which has provided evidences to support the concept that abnormalities in the regulation of the cyclo-oxygenase pathway may contribute to excessive inflammatory and mucus hypersecretion responses in the airways of patients with asthma and rhinosinusitis, specially in those patients with aspirin-induced bronchoconstriction. This alteration may also account for the poor response to glucocorticoid therapy of both asthma and chronic rhinosinusitis/nasal polyposis.

Briefly, previous studies from others and our group have demonstrated low prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production and down-expression of cyclo-oxygenase 2 (Cox-2) mRNA in asthmatic patients, particularly in those with aspirin-intolerance. Using animal models others and our group have reported that the blockage of the cyclo-oxygenase pathway has deleterious effects on allergen-induced airway inflammation while the exogenous addition of PGE2 rescued the effects of allergen-induced injury. However, is still unclear through which mechanisms PGE2 exerts its inhibitory role. The activity of PGE2 is mediated by four receptors (EP1-EP4) encoded by distinct genes. Understanding the association between PGE2, receptor expression and cells signalling pathways will offer new opportunities to discover new selective agents in the treatment of asthma and chronic rhinosinusitis.

The purpose of this programme of work will be: to investigate the specific receptors and cell signalling pathways involved in the anti-inflammatory effects of prostaglandin E2 in allergen-induced airway inflammation in asthma.

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

  • Cell cultures and transfections
    • Immunoprecipitation and immunobloting
    • Flow cytomtry
    • RT-PCR
    • Luciferase assays
  • Analysis of cell activation and degranulation

Main Duties

To conduct research investigating the regulatory effects of prostaglandin E2 on cell signalling pathways involved in mast cell degranulation induced by allergenic and non-allergenic mechanisms (osmotic stimulus).

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 mechanisms involved in inflammatory responses
  • Publications in high impact factor peer reviewed journals
  • Ability 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 analysis of cell activation (degranulation, calcium mobilizations, cytokine secretion, eicosanoid synthesis)
  • Expertise in cell signalling
  • 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
  • Commitment 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)