KU Leuven

Cardiac epigenetics: epigenetic control of cardiac myocyte gene expression patterns and phenotype.

KU Leuven

Leuven, Belgium

Multi-omics in cardiovascular disease: We are recruiting a postdoctoral scientist to investigate how epigenome-transcriptome interactions participate in controlling the switch between cardiac myocyte proliferation and hypertrophy during cardiac post-natal growth and disease. Building on recent data from our lab demonstrating a key role for histone methylation in post-natal silencing of the fetal gene programme of the cardiac myocyte (Thienpont, Aronsen, Robinson et al., JCI 2017), we aim to develop strategies to target the epigenome as a mechanism to prevent deleterious remodelling during disease and ageing and to re-activate cell cycle activity in adult cardiomyocytes. To this end, we are combining epigenomics and transcriptomics analysis as well as single cell approaches. Mechanistic studies, including in GM animals are being used to determine the possibility of targeting these nodes for therapeutic benefit. Strategies to achieve our goals centre on NGS approaches including single cells RNA-Seq, ChIP-Seq, GM and surgical mouse models, mechanistic studies and analysis of patient samples.

The Laboratory of Experimental Cardiology:
The Laboratory of Experimental Cardiology is part of the cluster ‘Cardiac structure and function’ investigating cardiac structural, contractile and electrical remodeling processes during cardiovascular disease. This involves investigating from the cellular to the organ level, molecular mechanisms, left and right ventricular mechanics and impact of different interventions and anaesthetics. The laboratory is highly international consisting of post-doctoral scientists, PhD students and technicians.

The laboratory is equipped with the wide range of expertise and skills required to manipulate and probe the transcriptome/epigenome (and the mechanisms governing functions and phenotype of the heart and cardiac myocyte fate choices). These resources span across mouse and large animal models of cardiac disease, GM mice, iPS cells, RNA-Seq, ChiP-Seq, DNA (hydroxy)methylation analysis and analysis of excitation contraction coupling. You will receive extensive training and support in these areas. Through our excellent local and international collaborators and core facilities, you will have access to additional expertise and tools.

The Department:
The Department is situated in the Biomedical Campus of KU Leuven. It has the entire range of competences from basic science, over pre-clinical modeling to applied clinical and epidemiological research, taking a systems approach to the complexity of cardiovascular disorders.

The University:
KU Leuven offers a stimulating environment for international students and support for junior scientists to achieve their ambitions and in career development.

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  • You will develop your own project in the area of cardiovascular epigenetics with a particular aim to identify new regulatory nodes in the control of cardiac myocyte growth and proliferation.
  • You will collaborate with other members of the laboratory.
  • You will be expected to develop expertise in areas necessary for successful progress of your project.
  • You will be expected to perform experiments ranging from cell biological to in vivo analysis.
  • You will be expected to present your work at conferences, lab meeting, and departmental meetings.


  • You are motivated, have an enquiring mind and are excited by science.
  • You are ideally experienced in NGS approaches, including RNA-Seq, ChIP-Seq and methylation analysis. Experience in single cell methods is also an advantage.
  • Experience with NGS data processing and working knowledge of R and bioconductor packages would be an advantage.
  • You have experience in cell biology and mouse models/experiments and are driven to establish mechanisms controlling cell function.
  • Experience in cardiovascular research including animal models is desirable.
  • You have a demonstrated ability to perform high-level biomedical research with at least 1 first author paper in a reputed journal.
  • You enjoy collaborating with your colleagues and externally to scientific advance.
  • You hold a PhD degree in Biomedical Sciences, Cell Biology, Biochemistry or other similar domain of life sciences with working knowledge in relevant areas.
  • You are a team player with excellent written and oral communication skills in English
  • You are an independent thinker who can drive a project forward.
  • You enjoy presenting your data to collaborators and to the community at scientific meetings.
  • You perform your research to the highest standards and integrity.


  • A position for 2 years with possibility for extension.
    *A stimulating and supportive environment in which you acquire expertise as a multidisciplinary researcher.
  • Support to apply for independent funding from the national and international funding agencies including the Flemish Research Council (FWO) and the EU.


Please send your CV, motivation letter and 2 recommendation letters toProf. Dr. H. Llewelyn Roderick, Email: (Llewelyn.roderick@kuleuven.be). Please also applyvia the online portal of KU Leuven.

You can apply for this job no later than February 15, 2020 via the online application tool

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.