Umeå University (UmU)

Postdoctoral position in gene regulation in obesity related liver cancer

Umeå Centre for Molecular Medicine (UCMM), Umeå University

Umeå, Sweden

Postdoctoral position at UCMM – Umeå Centre for Molecular Medicine concerning:
Gene regulation in obesity related liver cancer (full-time employment for two years) in Andreas Hörnblad’s research group. The focus of the research group is on gene regulation and the function of the noncoding genome in metabolic diseases and during embryonic development. We use genetic mouse models in combination with sequencing techniques and high-throughput genome editing to study these questions.

Reprogramming of regulatory sequences or restructuring of the genome that involves relocation of enhancer sequences with regulatory potential has shown to play a key role in certain types of cancer. This could be due to e. g. enhancer hijacking, via activation of dormant regulatory sequences or by formation of new topological domains. Liver cancer is the fifth most common cancer form in the world and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. The most common form of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, is strongly associated with obesity and metabolic syndrome. The disease aetiology of liver cancer is complicated and it is not clear how specific genes contribute to different forms of cancer — e.g. against the background of metabolic syndrome or obesity. In addition, little is known about how mutations in the non-coding regulatory genome contribute to the disease.

The group is based at the Umeå Center for Molecular Medicine at Umeå University campus. At the department, strong research is conducted in the fields of metabolism, imaging, neuroscience and cancer. The centre provides all necessary instrumentation and a number of different model organisms are represented. In the laboratory there is a strong background on the redundancy and modularity of regulatory elements (enhancers) as well as the study of metabolic diseases, developmental biology and mouse genetics. We are looking for a motivated post-doctor to study the role of the non-coding genome in the development of liver cancer in metabolic syndrome and obesity.

Experimental methodology includes various forms of next generation sequencing (RNA-seq, ChIP-seq, ATAC-seq etc.) to study genomic sequences and epigenetic markers (activity of enhancers, promoters, etc.) in tumors from mouse models, human patients as well as in human cell lines. The work also includes metabolic analyses in vivo, genetic engineering of mice and cell lines (CRISPR / Cas9), gene and protein expression analyses, advanced in vivo imaging and microscopy. The successful candidate must be able to independently plan experiments, develop methods and conduct data analysis as well as communicate results. Summarizing results orally and in writing in English is a requirement, as well as documented good ability to collaborate within the group and with other research groups. The position is fully covered for 2 years but the candidate will also be encouraged to apply for her/his own grants. We are looking for a curious and driven researcher with independent and critical thinking, who will be given the opportunity to develop her/his scientific knowledge.

The successful candidate will be responsible for:

- Conduct research within the framework of the group’s research program
- Establish methods
- Analyze and publish research results
- Project leading
- Actively participate in journal clubs, seminars, tutoring of students etc.
- Present data at national and international scientific meetings

A doctoral degree in the field of molecular medicine or related disciplines is required as well as a strong background in molecular biology. Training in experimental animal science as well as documented experience in independently managing laboratory animals are requirements. Experience with mouse models of fatty liver and obesity and/or genomics approaches such as ChIP-, RNA- or ATAC-sequencing are desirable skills. Publications in the areas of metabolic syndrome, liver cancer or gene regulation is a merit. Basic knowledge in bioinformatics is an advantage but not a requirement. As a postdoc, the candidate must be able to conduct independent research work and be able to write scientific reports and publications. Knowledge of written and spoken English is a requirement.

Selection criteria
In particular, applicants who have completed a doctoral degree no more than three years before the application deadline are considered. In special circumstances, an earlier doctoral degree may be considered. Special circumstances refer to leave due to illness, parental leave or clinical service, trust assignments within trade union organizations or similar.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.

Quote Reference: AN 2.2.1-1368-19