Mitochondrial regulation of cell death in steatohepatitis and cancer

REF: PhD 10
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 Jose C. Fernandez-Checa
Up to 3 years, by IDIBAPS
38.000 € plus housing facilities


Job summary

1. A postdoctoral position is available in Professor FERNANDEZ-CHECA laboratory. The position involves working wit a team of scientists studying the regulation of cell death by signaling lipids.

The programme is a continuation of work recently published in Cell Metab 4: 185-198, 2006; Cancer Res 68: 5246-5256, 2008; J Neurosci 29: 6394-6405, 2009; Antioxid Redox Signal 12: 1295-331, 2010; J Biol Chem 285: 18528-36, 2010, which has provided.the identification of a key role of mitochondrial cholesterol and sphingolipids in the progression from steatosis to steatohepatitis, which may open novel therapeutic opportunities for steatohepatitis, and other chronic diseases, such as cancer.

Briefly, our group has been involved in studying the role of mitochondrial GSH (mGSH) in liver diseases, and have found that the transport and homeostasis of mGSH is critically determined by membrane dynamics and have a key role in cell survival following stress and inflammation.

The purpose of this programme of work will be .to identify the molecular mechanisms and cell biology of cholesterol trafficking in mitochondria and the generation of a conditional knockout mice deficient in the expression of hepatic StAR, a mitochondrial cholesterol transporting polypeptide.

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

  • Gene silencing/downregulation by siRNAs
  • Proteomic profiling of isolated mitochondria
  • Conditional knockout mice generation
  • Genetic and nutritional models of steatohepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma.
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma xenografts in nude mice.

Main Duties

To conduct research investigating the role of mitochondrial cholesterol and trafficking in steatohepatitis and cancer.

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 appropriate life science discipline
  • Basic knowledge of cloning, molecular biology, and lipid metabolism.
  • 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 cell culture, molecular biology, primary cell isolation and fractionation, confocal imaging.
  • Expertise in mitochondrial physiology, and oxidative stress.
  • 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)