Research Postdoc Microbiology: Denmark
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a bacterial infection with a prevalence of 10-30% of women in child-bearing age. It is not lethal, but severely impacts quality of life, increases the risk of preterm birth and the risk of infections with sexually transmitted diseases. Standard of care with antibiotics leads to frequent relapse, because the causative bacterial biofilm cannot be eradicated. Therefore, BV is one of the major causes for women to get antibiotics prescribed. Repeated use of antibiotics leads to serious side effects, including candidosis and dysbiosis in the gut. PhagoMed Biopharma GmbH has developed bacteriophage-derived antimicrobials to treat BV in a pathogen-targeted way, and has entered a full pharmaceutical development program. The project will focus on better understanding the etiology of BV, and the effect of PhagoMed’s antimicrobials on the biofilm causative for BV. The project is therefore highly relevant both in terms of scientific understanding of one of the most frequent human diseases and in terms of the pharmaceutical development of a contribution to solve one of the most concerning issues of public health, the antimicrobials resistance crisis.
What does the Laboratory of Bacteriology Research at University Gent do?
The LBR has been developing molecular tools for the study of microbial communities throughout the human body. During the last decade the LBR has focused more on vaginal microbiology because of its importance in preterm birth and adverse pregnancy outcomes in general. Another route of research regards the use of bacteriophages as an alternative approach for the treatment of bacterial infections. Both research interests have recently been consolidated through collaboration with PhagoMed.
Who and what is PhagoMed Biopharma GmbH?
PhagoMed Biopharma GmbH is an Austrian biotech company focused on the development of human therapeutic applications of phages and phage-derived proteins. Its development programs are based on the last-resort treatment experiences of its clinical co-founders with phages as well as research collaborations with highly prestigious scientists and research institutions in Germany (Leibniz-Institute DSMZ-German collection of microorganisms and cell cultures GmbH, Braunschweig as well as Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen) and Belgium (Ghent University). Since its incorporation in November 2017, the company has raised more than €4 million in public grants and private investments. PhagoMed has a team of ten highly skilled scientist working on its programs, six of which at the Campus Vienna Biocenter in Vienna, Austria.
What we offer
Become part of a team developing a new asset class in anti-microbials. Take full responsibility for the scientific project. Be part of a highly motivated and fun team that believes therapy based on phages and phage-derived proteins can be part of the solution to the antibiotics crisis. The salary will be in agreement with that determined by the PD1 scale of the Ghent University.
Please also feel free to reach out directly if you have specific questions: Dr. Lorenzo Corsini, Managing Director & COO, PhagoMed, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Profile of the candidate
What we are looking for:
- PhD in Microbiology or an interim document if you are in the process of defending your PhD in Microbiology.
- Research experience with phage-derived antimicrobial proteins or bacteriophages.
- Excellent publication track record in microbiology and ideally endolysins, extracellular matrix depolymerases or phages.
- Track record of leading research technicians and students, including steering and motivating the team.
- Highly structured thinking. Interest in targeted pharmaceutical development.
- Interest in working in a team of highly skilled and motivated professionals.
- Establish research processes according to the latest microbiological technology developments.
- Assembly of human vaginal samples and characterization of their microbiomes.
- Establish and validate ex-vivo natural BV biofilms and artificial biofilm models.
- Establish potency model for comparison of effectiveness of PhagoMed antimicrobials proteins and standard of care antibiotics.
- Establish standardized experimental protocols that will enable reproducibility in later GLP studies (e.g. potency, cytotoxicity).
- Documentation of results according to the PhagoMed quality standards, to ensure the quality of results and their documentation are acceptable to regulatory authorities, working towards a human clinical trial application.
- Supervise technical assistants, including training on working with bacteria and phages, working in a BSL-2 environment, application of experimental and documentation standards.
- Drafting of patent claims as appropriate, publication of selected results in scientific journals.