Open Positions

We offer one fully funded PhD position starting from April 1st 2022 at the Sleep Disorders Center, Department of Neurology, Medical University of Innsbruck, under the supervision of Univ.-Prof. Birgit Högl and Postdoc Matteo Cesari, PhD. The project is embedded within the Neuroscience PhD program at the Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria and is funded by the European ERA-PerMed 2021 grant. This interdisciplinary and international PhD program addresses the development of new technologies with computer vision tools integrated with artificial intelligence for the identification of REM sleep behavior disorder, a sleep disorder which is recognized as the early stage of neurodegenerative diseases.

Project description

Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behaviour disorder (RBD) is characterized by abnormal muscular activity and dream enactment in REM sleep. In its isolated form (iRBD), it is recognized as an early stage of alpha-synucleinopathies (i.e. Parkinson’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and multiple system atrophy). However, iRBD is often not recognized as affected patients may be unaware of the disease. An early, accurate, automated and population-extended recognition of iRBD would be essential to identify patients with alpha-synucleinopathy in an early stages, enabling timely begin of disease modifying treatments once they will become available. Furthermore, objective and automated methods would improve follow-up of iRBD patients and allow personalised treatments. We aim to develop and validate a novel small, light and portable 3D video-based technology employing artificial intelligence as powerful, automatic, stand-alone instrument to identify and follow-up iRBD patients. The technology will be validated and tested on data recorded in five European Sleep centers. We believe that this novel tool can revolutionize the way in which iRBD patients are identified and followed-up.

Team

The PhD student will work in a young, dynamic and truly international and multidisciplinary environment, in close collaboration with internationally recognized experts in the field of sleep disorders and artificial intelligence applied in sleep medicine.

Responsibilities and qualifications

The PhD student will be employed at the Department of Neurology of the Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria. At the beginning of the project, the PhD student will be informed about the current status of the technology during meetings at Austrian Institute of Technology in Vienna and will travel to the European sleep centers involved in the project to install the 3D time-of-flight cameras. After collection of data in the sleep centers, the PhD student will develop and test artificial intelligence algorithms for the identification of iRBD patients. In particular, algorithms will be developed to automatically identify body parts, to discriminate between RBD and non-RBD movements and finally to create scores indicating the likelihood of RBD based on the type and patterns of movements automatically identified.

Knowledge of computer vision, machine learning, statistics and programming (Python and/or Matlab) is a prerequisite for the position. Excellent English speaking and writing skills are also required.

Salary

The salary is regulated according to the Austrian Science Fund guidelines (https://www.fwf.ac.at/en/research-funding/personnel-costs )

Contact:

Univ.-Prof. Birgit Högl, birgit.ho@i-med.ac.at

Matteo Cesari, PhD, matteo.cesari@i-med.ac.at

A PhD position is available in the lab of Dr. Alexandra Lusser at the Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria. The laboratory studies gene regulatory mechanisms involving epigenetics and epitranscriptomics.

We are seeking highly motivated PhD students with interest in the following research areas:

  • Understanding the biological and mechanistic implications of RNA cytosine modification
  • Study of the functions of chromatin remodeler CHD1 in Drosophila health- and lifespan
  • Study the posttranscriptional regulation of centromere-specific histone variant Cenp-A.

The successful candidate will have a background in molecular and/or cellular biology. Expertise in bioinformatics (analysis of NGS data) is a plus. We seek a highly motivated scientist with a strong interest in RNA and/or chromatin biology and the ability to work independently as well as in a team. The group is part of the Special Research Program RNA-DECO (https://www.rna-deco.org/).

The position is available immediately for 4 years.

The Medical University is located in Innsbruck in the heart of the alps. The city offers ample possibilities for outdoor activities, such as skiing, hiking or biking. Being home to two large universities, social life in the city is strongly shaped by students.

To apply: Please e-mail a CV, a letter of motivation and names and contact information for 2-3 references to: Dr. Alexandra Lusser, Email: alexandra.lusser@i-med.ac.at

We offer 1 fully funded PhD position with immediate effect located at the Institute of Cell Biology, Biocenter, Medical University of Innsbruck and supervised by Ass.-Prof. Georg-Friedrich Vogel (Cell Biology, Paediatrics I). The project is embedded within the PhD program Cellular Basis of Diseases (CBD) at the Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria. This interdisciplinary PhD program addresses the molecular control of metabolism & inflammation and connect basic life science and computational biology with medicine.

To read more about the program and the requirements, please use the following link: https://phd-cbdiseases.i-med.ac.at/

Project: The role of ER-PM contact sites in epithelial polarity
In a CRISPR/Cas9 KO screen on apical trafficking in epithelial cells, our group has identified two candidate genes involved in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) – plasma membrane (PM) contact sites (EPCS) formation and function: anoctamin 8 (ANO8) and transmembrane protein 110 (TMEM110). EPCS have various physiological functions, such as intracellular as well as ER Ca2+ homeostasis and regulation of phosphatidylinositolphosphate (PIP) at the PM. ANO8 was shown to be recruited to EPCS in a PI(4,5)P2-dependent manner and replenishes Ca2+ storage by recruiting the Sarco/endoplasmatic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase. TMEM110 is known to activate and enhance another ER-PM-protein STIM1, hence is also termed STIMactivating enhancer (STIMATE). STIM1-TMEM110 interaction is crucial for Ca2+ influx at the plasma membrane upon exhaustion of Ca2+ storage and TMEM110 knockdown reduces STIM1 localization at the PM.
However, little to nothing is known about their role in formation or turnover of the apical domain in epithelial cells and polarized epithelial tissues. Interestingly, preliminary descriptive work suggests an exclusion of contact sites from the apical PM in hepatocytes. Work in fission yeast concludes that EPCS restrict sites of polarized exocytosis and that high Cdc42 activity in regions of exocytosis, typically the apical PM in higher eukaryotes, permit the formation of EPCS.

This project aims to understand the involvement of ANO8 and TMEM110 in the establishment of epithelial polarity and proper apical trafficking of cargo proteins. Therefore, epithelial cell models will be used, such as 3D MDCK cyst cultures. Main techniques for this project include CRISPR/Cas9 mediated genome editing, 3D cyst cultures, apical trafficking assays, proteinprotein interaction studies, and immunofluorescence and electron microscopy. Experience in epithelial cell culture, genome editing, immunofluorescence microscopy and protein biochemistry are beneficial.

Contact:
georg.vogel@i-med.ac.at

Job Category: PhD

If you are fascinated by molecular machines that protect the integrity of the cells and their organelles, join us as a PhD student or PostDoc and find out how the assembly of the ESCRT machinery protects cellular membranes.

Pls. send your application to david.teis@i-med.ac.at