ERC funded postdoc position in brain immunology and microglia engineering

Posted 12 months ago

1 – Working at the VUB

For already 50 years, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel has stood for freedom, equality and connectedness. These values are strongly present on our campuses, in our students as well as our staff. At the VUB, you’ll find a diverse collection of personalities: pure innovators and especially people who are 100% their authentic selves. With about 3.500 employees, we are the largest Dutch-speaking employer in Brussels, an international city with which we are all too happy to be connected, and around which our four campuses are located.

Our education and research are grounded in the principles of free research with an eye on human progress. We disapprove of every purely authoritative argument and guarantee the free formation of judgement that is necessary for this basic principle to be incorporated in the community.

The VUB is autonomous and managed democratically. As such, we guarantee fundamental freedoms within our university, as well as the right of the university community to be involved in making and checking university policy.

The mission of the university includes:

  • the development, the transfer and the application of high-standing academic education and scientific research, free from any prejudice;
  • community integration of this in a spirit of social compassion;
  • critical development of everyone in light of the responsibilities borne in the community.

2 – Position description

The Faculteit Geneeskunde en Farmacie, Department Basis (bio)-medische wetenschappen, is looking for a postdoctoral researcher.

More concretely your work package contains:

The Movahedi lab at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel is looking for postdoctoral scientists that share our ambition and drive to develop new treatment paradigms for neurodegenerative diseases of the CNS by targeting and engineering microglia and brain macrophages. You will develop innovative new technologies and advance our understanding of how microglia modulate brain disorders and how they can be engineered to ameliorate disease.

There will be excellent training conditions, with the possibility to learn a wide set of technologies. The project relies on cutting-edge methodologies, including the development of new biologicals, iPSC engineering and in vivo transplantation, in vivo CRISPR-screening, genome-engineering, lentiviral modulation, single-cell multi-omic profiling and bioinformatic analysis. The project entails preclinical research in mouse models of disease, but with a clear intention for translatability.

Our lab is located at the university medical campus of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Jette Campus), in the hearth of Europe. Access is available to core facilities offering state-of-the art technologies. Some of the exciting equipment that you will have access to include: Cytek 5-laser spectral flow cytometer and cell sorter (> 40-parameter cytometry & sorting), Akoya Phenocycler-Fusion platform for spatial multiomic tissue profiling, Leica Stellaris DIVE 2-photon intravital microscopy platform for in vivo brain imaging, Zeiss Confocal and light sheet microscopy, Chromium X controller for scRNA-seq, MARS acoustic cell separation system, etc.

You will join a dynamic and ambitious team of highly motivated international scientists, in a friendly environment where you can thrive both at a professional and personal level. Long-term career opportunities and mentoring are part of the package.

Funding is available via the ERC consolidator grant ReplaceMi, with your salary being covered for 3-4 year.

Relevant publications of our lab:

De Vlaminck et al. Differential plasticity and fate of brain-resident and recruited macrophages during the onset and resolution of neuroinflammation. Immunity 2022. PMID: 36228615

Scheyltjens et al.  Single-cell RNA and protein profiling of immune cells from the mouse brain and its border tissues. Nature Protocols 2022. PMID: 35931780

Lodder et al. CSF1R inhibition rescues tau pathology and neurodegeneration in an A/T/N model with combined AD pathologies, while preserving plaque associated microglia. Acta Neuropath Comm 2021. PMID: 34103079

Pombo Antunes et al. Single-cell profiling of myeloid cells in glioblastoma across species and disease stage reveals macrophage competition and specialization. Nature Neuroscience 2021. PMID: 33782623

Van Hove H et al. A single-cell atlas of mouse brain macrophages reveals unique transcriptional identities shaped by ontogeny and tissue environment. Nature Neuroscience 2019. PMID: 31061494

For this function, our Brussels Health Campus (Jette) will serve as your home base.

3 – Profile

What do we expect from you?

PhD in biology, bio-engineering sciences, medical sciences, biomedical sciences or related disciplines

Motivated/passionate postdoc with a PhD with a solid publication record.

Excellent spoken and written English skills.

Experience with any of the following topics is highly beneficial:

  • Neuroimmunology
  • Stem cells & iPSC technology
  • Macrophage biology
  • Single-cell profiling
  • CRISPR editing & screening
  • Neurodegenerative diseases

4 – Offer

Are you going to be our new colleague?

You’ll be offered a contract, for an assignment of 1 FTE, for 36 months (extendable, on condition of the positive evaluation of the research activities), with planned starting date 01/10/2023.

You’ll receive a salary linked to one of the scales set by the government.

At the VUB, you’re guaranteed an open, involved and diverse workplace where you are offered opportunities to (further) build on your career.

As well as this, you’ll enjoy various benefits:

  • Full reimbursement for your home-work commute with public transport according to VUB-policy, or compensation if you come by bike;
  • Cost-free hospitalisation insurance;
  • The space to form your job content and continuously learn via VUB LRN;
  • Excellent facilities for sport and exercise;
  • Ecocheques;
  • Delicious meals at attractive prices in our campus restaurants;
  • An open, family-friendly work environment where attention is paid to work-life balance, and exceptional holiday arrangements with 35 days of leave (based on a fulltime contract).

5 – Interested?

Is this the job you’ve been dreaming of?

Send us ONLINE and at the latest on 31/08/2023 your CV, letter of motivation and the highest degree you’ve attained (not applicable for VUB alumni).

Do you have questions about the job content? Contact Kiavash Movahedi at or on (02)477 45 69.

Would you like to know what it’s like to work at the VUB? Go to and find all there is to know about our campuses, benefits, strategic goals and your future colleagues.

Job Features

Job CategoryInternship and training

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