SmartAge ESR project 8

SmartAge ESR project 8
ANNOUNCEMENT REF.: SmartAge ESR project 8
The selective process is open for the coverage of 1 vacancy for a PhD student at the BIOMEDICAL
(head of project: Prof. Dr. José Manuel Fernández-Real). IDIBGI offers a PhD position for an Early-
Stage Researcher (ESR) for the project: Impact of the gut microbiome on cognitive function in
middle-aged subjects. Effects of weight loss. The position is part of the EU-funded Innovative Training
Network SmartAge (“Gut-brain-axis: Targets for improvement of cognition in the elderly”)
Objective of the project:
To analyse the impact of age on gut-microbiome, brain microstructure and cognition, we will
evaluate 200 subjects at both gender aged >65-80 years from the general population. Longitudinal
data and biological sample collection have been completed in April 2018 – as a subgroup - within the
Horizon 2020 SHARE project - Different domains of cognition will be
explored: attention, memory and executive function (Stroop test, California verbal learning test, Trail
Making test A and B) in association with metabolic variables and MRI scans including diffusion tensor
imaging (DTI). Gut barrier function and inflammatory brain markers (ZO-1, LBP, progranulin) will be
analysed on plasma samples by ELISA. Blood samples will be collected to measure various markers of
microbial translocation/gut barrier function (bacterial endotoxins, CD14, LBP, ZO-1 and I-FABP),
inflammation (progranulin, CRP, Tnfá, IL-6, IL-1á, IL-1â) and to process for metabolomics (e.g. SCFA).
All these variables were evaluated at baseline and one year thereafter. Exploiting data from a
previous large-scale trial is a great advantage and will support us in examining the hypotheses
presented here. The effects of weight loss will be additional evaluated with the same parameters
before and 1 year after bariatric surgery in 40 subjects aged >65 years, in an obese control group
where dietetic counselling is provided and in non-obese subjects. Weight loss is expected to impact
on cognitive improvement, the gut-microbiome, barrier function and inflammaging even at older
The PhD student will join a research group with extensive experience in the study of the
pathophysiology of obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus and their complications. The main traditional
lines of research are focused on innate immune system, inflammatory pathways, and metabolic
diseases. Furthermore, the group has done significant work evaluating the biology of human adipose
tissue and the role of the microbiome on the cognitive profiles of individuals with obesity and type 2
diabetes. Currently, the group is elucidating the complex interplay among the gut microbiome, the
metabolome (including microbial-host co-metabolites), brain microstructure, and cognitive
performance (memory, inhibitory control, etc.), and its modulation by obesity.
Requirements of the applicant:
We expect a Master ́s degree (accrediting between 60 and 120 ECTS credits at the official university
master's degree level or equivalent) in Health and/or Life Sciences (Systems Biology, Bioinformatics,
Psychology, Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience, Biomedicine, Biology) or Medicine.
Furthermore, the applicant should be able to perform team-oriented as well as independent work.
Desirable methodological skills include: excellent background in systems biology, neuroscience, and
metabolism, as well as experience in analysing large omics datasets and neuroimaging data. This will
include the use of a variety of R, Phyton, MATLAB, SPM, and FSL statistical packages (machine
learning algorithms, microbiome compositional data analysis, pattern recognition methods, brain
structural and connectivity analyses, etc.) to extract relevant biological information from individual
omics datasets (metabolomics, transcriptomics, and metagenomics) as well as from magnetic
resonance imaging data, and their integration.
Very good language skills in English are required. Given that the candidate will interact with local
patients, fluency in Spanish will be also considered.
Please note the eligibility criteria for researchers: Candidates must be in the first four years of his/her
research career, not have a doctoral degree, and not have resided in Spain for more than 12 months
in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date.
We offer:
 Type of contract: Temporary
 Week: 40 hours per week
 Duration: 3 years
 Expected incorporation: March 2021
 The annual gross remuneration inherent to the vacancy subject to this call, will be determined
based on the experience provided and the skills of the candidates.
Selection process:
Interested candidates please send a motivation letter, a CV including publications (if available),
copies of university degrees and courses (including obtained grades), and the names and e-mail
addresses of two scientists who can provide references (all summarized in one pdf) to
Preferential treatment will be given to applications received before 30 November 2020.
For more information concerning the research project please contact Prof. Dr. José Manuel
Fernández-Real (email:
The recruitment will be carried out in accordance with the provisions of article 15 of Royal Legislative
Decree 1/1995, of March 24, which approves the revised text of the Workers' Statute Law, in
accordance with which has the art 2 of Royal Decree 2720/98, of December 18 (O. of January 8,
1999), Law 12/2001, of July 9 (O. of July 10) and concordant provisions.
The principle of equal treatment for men and women, in accordance with article 14 of the Spanish
Constitution, is taken into account, Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and the Council
and the provisions of Organic Law 3/2007, of March 22, and Law 17/2015, of July 21, for the effective
equality of men and women.
The universal accessibility of people with disabilities is considered in accordance with Legislative RD
1/2013, of November 29, which approves the Revised Text of the General Law on the rights of people
with disabilities and their inclusion social, making special reference to articles 35 and following where
the guarantees of the right to work are regulated.


Oferta de treball



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En aquesta pàgina es publiquen les ofertes de treball de l'Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica de Girona Dr. Josep Trueta (IDIBGI).

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