Mitochondrial regulation of cell death in steatohepatitis and cancer

REF: PD 12
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 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 with 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; J Biol Chem 285: 18528-36, 2010; J Hepatol, 2011 (in press), Curr Biol 2011, which has provided the identification of a key role of mitochondrial cholesterol and sphingolipids in the regulation of cell death and hence in disease progression, 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, neurodegeneration and cancer, 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 work involved in this call will be supported by public funds (Ministriy of Science and Innovation, Spain, NIH, USA and La Marato TV3, Catalunya, Spain).

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


Knowledge and Qualifications
  • Undergraduate degree in a life science discipline.
  • PhD in an appropriate life science discipline
  • Accredited knowledge and skills in cell culture, molecular biology, primary cell isolation and fractionation, confocal imaging.
  • 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 cell culture, molecular biology, primary cell isolation, fractionation and confocal imaging, and a clear interest in mitochondrial physiology, and oxidative stress. 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)