Instituto de Neurociencias

Two “NEUcrest” ITN Early Stage Researcher PhD positions for 3 years

Institute for Neuroscience CSIC-UMH

San Juan de Alicante, Spain

Two “NEUcrest” ITN Early Stage Researcher PhD positions for 3 years available in the lab of Prof. M. Angela Nieto, “Cell movements in development and disease” at Neuroscience Institute (CSIC-UMH) in Alicante, Spain ( These full-time positions are funded by the European Horizon 2020 programme and will be available 1st January 2020. The remuneration will be in line with the European Commission rules for Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant holders (ESR, Initial Training Network).

We are seeking highly motivated candidates to join us on the NEUcrest four-year project, to study the neural crest, an essential stem cell population of the vertebrate embryos. The Project integrates academic, clinical and industrial research for a better understanding of neural crest development and related diseases. These pathologies are a major group of congenital diseases in human, and a heavy societal concern. The NEUcrest network comprises 20 partners from seven European countries.

In the lab, we study cell plasticity in health and disease, and in particular the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT). The EMT is crucial for the formation of multiple tissues and organs including the neural crest and it is reactivated in the adult during wound healing, tumor progression and organ degeneration. We use zebrafish, mouse and chick embryos as model systems together with cultured cells and samples from patients, and we have a high interest in Cell Biology, Evo-Devo, Biomedicine, state-of-the-art imaging, transgenesis and gene expression profiling. These two PhD projects are devoted to the following themes:

From transcriptomics to cell behaviour in vertebrate neural crest
EMT and cell behaviour in normal and pathological vertebrate neural crest

Selected references:
• Ocaña, O.H., et al. (2012) Metastatic colonization requires the repression of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition inducer Prrx1._ Cancer Cell 22, 709-724.
• Grande et al. (2015). Snail1-induced partial epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition drives renal fibrosis in mice and can be targeted to reverse established disease. Nat. Med. 21, 989-997.
• Nieto et al. (2016). EMT: 2016. Cell 166, 21-45.
• Ocaña et al. (2017) A right-handed signalling pathway drives heart looping in vertebrates. Nature 549, 86-90.
• Fazilaty et al. (2019). A Gene Regulatory Network to Control EMT Programs in Development and Disease. Nat. Comm. In press.

Elegibility: Researches of any nationality in the first four years of their research careers that have not been based in Spain for more than 12 months in the last 3 years. Candidates with good academic marks and English level, please send a motivation letter describing your interests, skills and experience, a detailed CV and two contacts for reference letters.


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Two “NEUcrest” ITN Early Stage Researcher PhD positions for 3 years