Adipose Tissue and Beta Cell Cross Talk: New Mechanism to Control Beta Cell Plasticity

REF: PD 10
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Hours of work:
37.5 hours per week (excluding lunch hours)
Annual leave:
24 days per annum plus statutory days
C/ Villarroel 170, 08036 BARCELONA
Accountable to:
Professor Ramon Gomis
Up to 3 years, by IDIBAPS
38.000 € plus housing facilities


Job Summary

1. A postdoctoral position is available in Professor Ramon Gomis laboratory of Metabolic and molecular networks in diabetes and obesity. Dr. Gomis is currently leading the Spanish Network for the Study of Diabetes (CIBERDEM), and is well recognised for his contributions to clinical diabetes and beta cell physiology and function. The position involves working wit a team of scientists studying the mechanisms that allow beta cell to adapt to the increase demand in insulin due to pathogenesis of obesity. The main goal is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms that control beta cell plasticity, in order to be able to design new therapeutic approaches to avoid beta cell dysfunction and failure that takes place in diabetes.

The programme is a recently new research line in the lab, and the first papers are under supervision in Endocrinology, which has provided the discovery of new adipokines that are able to participate in the control of beta cell replication.

Briefly, the endocrine pancreas is continually remodeled in a dynamic controlled process involving both death and regeneration of beta cells in order to meet insulin demands. The development of obesity induces an increase in beta cell mass in order to maintain glucose homeostasis. The adipose tissue secretes a number of adipokines and acts as an important dynamic endocrine organ, with multiple metabolic roles in regulating whole-body physiology. The molecular mechanisms of functional beta cell expansion due to obesity are still not fully characterized. The understanding of the mechanisms that control beta cell plasticity will help us to improve our knowledge of the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in beta cell mass regulation, and provide new insight into approaches to restore functional beta mass in diabetic patients.

The purpose of this programme of work will be to use different models of obesity both genetic (using different knock out models) and diet induced to study the effect of the inflammation, associated with the obesity pathogenesis, in the function of beta cell as well as its plasticity (replication, apoptosis etc…).

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

  • Transcriptome, proteome and secretome analysis of adipose tissue and beta cell, and from the secreted media.
  • Help with the bioinformatic analysis of all the data
  • Culture of beta cells, adipocytes, preadipocytes and co-cultures to study the cross talk.
  • Islet physiology and morphology
  • Molecular and cellular genera techniques

Main Duties

To conduct research investigation how the pathogenesis of obesity and the correlated inflammation of the adipose tissue affects beta cell function. The fellow will use all the high-thorough put technology available as well as molecular, cellular and physiology experiments to study this issue. The post-doc will receive the support of all the members of the team, including the core technicians, and will probably supervise a PhD student who will also contribute to this project.

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


Knowledge and Qualifications
  • Undergraduate degree in a life science discipline.
  • PhD in an appropriate life science discipline
  • Accredited knowledge and skills in molecular and cell biology, physiology experiments and animal work.
  • Proficiency in English language.
  • Research stay outside the country of residence.
  • Publications in high impact factor peer reviewed journals.
  • It is expected a thorough background on biochemistry/molecular biology and/or immunology. In addition, it will be important to show ability to develop ideas logically and design experiments to test hypotheses, ability to modify and apply new methods to advance a project, and to analyse and write up data for presentations and publications.
  • The post-doc should have a personal resume showing ability to present complex information effectively to a range of audiences and to write effective written and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to direct junior members of the laboratory in simple laboratory procedures
Experience and Personal Qualities
  • Experience of working in a research environment and commitment to high quality research
  • Experience in multi-disciplinary working and clear interest in working as part of the team. All the members of the team will collaborate in this research project.
  • Ability to work independently and to use own initiative when required.
(Read eligibility criteria)