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PhD student positions available in the Marie-Sklodowska- Curie European Training Network “PRINT-AID”

unmet clinical need for novel antibiofilm drugs

Applications are invited for 9 PhD student positions available in the Marie-Sklodowska-Curie European Training Network: “PRINT-AID – Multidisciplinary European training network for development of personalized anti-infective medical devices combining printing technologies and antimicrobial functionality” within the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission.

PRINT-AID aims to provide high-quality research training to Early Stage Researchers. By bringing together experts in antimicrobial drug development, microbial biofilms, 3D-printing technologies, in vivo preclinical infection models and related data integration and standardization, the students will benefit from a truly multi-disciplinary training programme. Additionally PRINT-AID offers each early Stage Researcher a unique inter-sectoral training opportunity with training periods both in academic and industrial research environments suitable for students pursuing future career in either sector. We encourage applications from candidates who are eagerly interested in multidisciplinary doctoral theses projects focusing on exploring innovative routes to counteract biofilm-associated infections in medical devices.
Healthcare-associated bacterial infections remain one of the great challenges in modern patient care. Annually over 4 million patients in Europe suffer from bacterial infections that are acquired during hospitalization. Half of these infections are related to medical devices and bacterial growth forming a biofilm on medical devices. As currently available antibiotics are largely ineffective towards microbial biofilms there exists a huge unmet clinical need for novel antibiofilm drugs.

PRINT-AID mission is to tackle bacterial infections and to develop medical devices resistant to bacterial biofilms.

To do this we will:

  1. identify novel drugs active against microbial biofilms,
  2. develop medical devices with antibiofilm activity using 3D-printing
  3. validate the anti-infective functionality of the medical devices in preclinical animal models and
  4. create a bioinformatics platform to allow integration and standardization of the biofilms data generated during the project.

 

PRINT-AID European Training Network offers 9 Early Stage Researcher positions across Europe.

Each Early Stage Researcher will be enrolled in a PhD programme and will benefit from the designed training programme offered by the hosting organisations and the PRINT-AID consortium. PRINT-AID consortium recruits to high profile universities, research institutions and companies located in Finland, Belgium, Poland, The Netherlands, Italy and Portugal.

 

The nine positions are available with the following beneficiaries:

ESR 1: Identification, mechanistic characterization and chemical optimization of repurposed anti-biofilms
Objectives: To identify promising anti-biofilms originating from currently existing investigational or approved drugs; to investigate their mode of actions on biofilms and to perform structural optimizations favoring printable formulations.
Host: University of Helsinki, FINLAND /Supervisor: Prof. P. Vuorela
Duration: 36 months
Start time: June 2017


ESR 2: Identification and characterization of combinations of new potentiators with antibiotics against biofilm-related infections
Objectives: To identify best potentiators and optimize combinations with currently-in-use antibiotics as well as their mechanistic knowledge; to assess the in vivo efficacy of combinations when applied for coatings of printed femur implants.
Host: University of Ghent, BELGIUM /Supervisor: Prof. T. Coenye
Duration: 36 months
Start time: June 2017


ESR 3: Design and preparation of 3D-printed devices and bioprinted antimicrobial formulations
Objective: To investigate formulations for 3D-printing and bioprinting for generating devices with anti-biofilm functionality; to develop systems from simple geometries scaled-up to femur implants and catheters.
Host: Warsaw University of Technology, POLAND /Supervisor: Prof. W. Swieszkowski
Duration: 36 months
Start time: September 2017


ESR 4: Technical improvements of 3D-printing of anti-infective medical devices to counteract biofilm-related infections
Objectives: To perform modifications of the 3D printer required for direct inclusion of antimicrobials within the carrier polymer; to identify best candidates as support material and the medical grade requirements that are needed; to propose recommendations for 3D printed antimicrobial medical devices.
Host: Voxdale BVBA (VOXDALE), BELGIUM /Supervisor: Dr. B. Verleije
Duration: 36 months
Start time: September 2017


ESR 5: In vitro anti-microbial functionality testing of developed formulations to select for in vivo studies
Objectives: To evaluate surface microbicidal activity and release antimicrobial functionality of the newly 3D printed or 3D printed/coated surfaces. This will provide support to the fabrication process and determine candidates for in vivo studies.
Host: University of Helsinki, FINLAND /Supervisor: Prof. P. Vuorela
Duration: 36 months
Start time: September 2017


ESR 6: In vivo evaluation of single and multi-component formulations for respiratory devices
Objectives: To characterize and offer in vivo proof-of-concept of the efficacy of novel 3D-printed and 3D-printed/coated antimicrobial catheters in a rat model of P. aeruginosa ventilator- acquired pneumonia.
Host: University of Antwerp, BELGIUM /Supervisor: Prof. P. Cos
Duration: 36 months
Start time: September 2017


ESR 7: In vivo evaluation of antimicrobial peptide-based formulations on printed femur implants
Objectives: To develop, characterize and offer in vivo proof-of-concept of the efficacy of novel 3Dprinted implants, incorporating antimicrobial peptide (single and multi-components) to protect against Staphylococcus spp. femur implant infections in mouse.
Host: Academic Medical Center, THE NETHERLANDS/ Supervisor: Prof. S. Zaat
Duration: 36 months
Start time: September 2017


ESR 8: In vivo evaluation of quorum sensing inhibitor-based formulations on printed femur implants
Objectives: To develop, characterize and offer in vivo proof-of-concept of the efficacy of novel 3Dprinted implants, incorporating quorum sensing inhibitors (single and multi-components) to protect against Staphylococcus spp. femur implant infections in mouse model.
Host: Aptuit, ITALY /Supervisor: Dr. A. Felici
Duration: 36 months
Start time: September 2017


ESR 9: Development of minimum information guidelines and bioinformatics tools for biofilm-related studies
Objectives: To develop minimum information guidelines for in vitro and in vivo biofilm experiments; to develop the PRINT-AID database and to contribute to the standardization of technologies used in the assessment of the efficacy of antimicrobial candidates or biomaterials against biofilm-related infections.
Host: University of Porto, PORTUGAL /Supervisor: Prof. N. Azevedo
Duration: 36 months
Start time: June 2017


To qualify, you must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Hold a MSc or equivalent in a relevant field
  • Be in the first four years of your research career, since e.g. completion of MSc. You cannot already possess a doctorate degree.
  • Be willing to move to the country where the research project is located. Additionally, you must NOT have worked or studied for more than 12 months during the last 3 years in the country where the research project is located
  • Be proficient in both written and spoken English.
  • Be eligible to enroll on a PhD programme at the host institution (or at designated university in case the host institution is non-academic organisation).

Benefits and salary

The MSCA programme offers highly competitive and attractive salary and working conditions. The successful candidates will receive a salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for Early Stage Researchers. Exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment and consists of Living allowance (approximately €37.320 /year (depending on a correction factor to be applied per country) and Mobility allowance (approximately €7200 /year). Researchers may also qualify for a Family allowance of €6000 /year depending on the family situation. In addition to the individual scientific projects at host institution, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education, which includes intra-sectoral secondments within the PRINT-AID training network, a variety of training
modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in PRINT-AID workshops and summer schools.

To apply

For information about the application process and to apply, please visit the project website at: http://printaid-etn.eu/vacancies

Selection process

Applications should be submitted before March 15th 2017. Following this date and before closing of the application deadline, applications will be reviewed and candidates interviewed (eg. skype or teleconference). Final candidate selection will take place at a Recruitment Event in Porto,  Portugal on May 8th 2017, where preselected candidates will be invited and interviewed by the
PRINT-AID Selection Committee (consisting of the PRINT-AID principal investigators and ESR supervisors). Financial support will be provided for the travel costs to the Recruitment Event (mainly for candidates traveling outside of Portugal). The positions are expected to start in June or September 2017, depending on the position.

Further information on the project and the selection process, respectively:

http://printaid-etn.eu/vacancies
karita.peltonen <at> helsinki.fi

 

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