Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven)

Postdoc in immunology

KU Leuven

Leuven, Belgium

Our research group focuses on the neuro-immune interaction between the enteric nervous system and resident macrophages in the context of neurodegeneration in the intestine. We recently discovered a unique resident macrophage population residing in close proximity to enteric neurons with properties of microglia, i.e. they are long-lived, are of embryonic origin and have neuro-protective properties (De Schepper et al., Cell 2018). Depletion of these macrophages leads to loss of enteric neurons in the myenteric and submucous plexus with impaired secretion, dysmorphic submucosal vasculature and impaired intestinal motility. In the present project, supported by an ERC Advanced grant (starting in September or October 2019), these macrophages will be further characterised and their role will be studied in several disease models of enteric neuro-degeneration and tissue collected from patients, with the ultimate goal to identify novel therapeutic targets and biomarkers.
Applicants should have completed a PhD in Immunology, preferentially on macrophage/microglia physiology. As validation of target genes is an important part of the project, the candidate should have ample experience with gene editing (in vitro / in vivo). Experience with single cell RNA sequencing, FACS / cell sorting and cell co-cultures is greatly appreciated.

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  • You will be responsible to design study protocols and perform experiments related to the ERC grant application
  • You will be supervising PhD students involved in the project
  • You will collaborate with other members of the research group
  • You will be responsible for reporting and publishing the obtained results


  • You are an experienced molecular biologist / bioengineer / biomedical scientist with a PhD in immunology
  • You have expertise in isolation and characterisation of immune cells (especially macrophages) and genetic engineering. Knowledge on iPSC biology and scRNA sequencing (see above) is appreciated.
  • You have experience in supervising students
  • You have experience writing research papers
  • You are capable of writing grants and obtaining research funding, and are willing to apply for a postdoctoral fellowship of the Flemish government (FWO)


  • We offer you a post-doc position for one year, with the opportunity for renewal until 3-5 years. You are stimulated to apply for a postdoctoral fellowship of FWO (see above).


Full applications including curriculum vitae, list of publications and 2 references should be sent to Prof.dr. G. Boeckxstaens (, before July 1st.
You can apply for this job no later than July 01, 2019 via the online application tool
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