Innate immune responses in stroke

REF: PhD 13
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 Anna M. Planas
Up to 3 years, by IDIBAPS
38.000 € plus housing facilities


Job summary

  • A postdoctoral position is available in Professor Anna M. Planas laboratory. The position involves working wit a team of scientists studying the role of inflammation and innate immune responses in brain ischemia
  • The programme is a continuation of work recently published in Plos One 2010 Feb 3;5(2):e8433, which has provided evidence for the involvement of the innate immune system in brain damage after stroke.

Briefly, the immune system affects brain infarction and injury progression after stroke. The chain of cellular and molecular reactions set by acute cell death after stroke involves the release of proinflammatory mediators, upregulation of chemokines and cytokines, glial reactivity, blood-brain barrier breakdown, and leukocyte adhesion/infiltration, which globally are assumed to exacerbate brain tissue damage and to contribute to neurological worsening. Acute brain damage alerts the innate immune system and leads to the massive release of proinflammatory mediators. This phenomenon occurs in the absence of pathogens by the generation of ‘danger signals’ after cell injury. Signalling though toll-like receptors (TLR) triggers a complex network of molecular responses and release of proinflammatory mediators that exacerbate acute brain damage. Furthermore, the complement system, including the lectin pathway, also contributes to brain damage after stroke. Our recent findings show that genetic deficiency in mannose binding lectin is associated to a better stroke outcome in animals and in humans. Signals induce by acute brain damage then trigger cellular reactions that might contribute to lesion progression. Our purpose is to better understand immune reactions to acute brain damage after stroke.

The purpose of this programme of work will be to investigate the nature and the regulation of immune responses and their contribution to brain damage after stroke.

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

  • flow cytometry,
  • cell sorting
  • cell cultures
  • experimental stroke
  • use of blood samples of stroke patients and controls
  • RNA, proteins

Main Duties

To conduct research intended to identifying natural signals that can activate innate immunity after stroke.

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 immunology or stroke
  • 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 either flow cytometry, adoptive transfer, immune responses or in experimental models of brain ischemia
  • Expertise in immunology and/or brain ischemia
  • 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)