31 January 2012

Early Stage Researcher (Ph.D.) position (Bari, Italy)

We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD Student to work within the EU project Ion Transport Proteins in Control of Cancer Cell Behaviour (IonTraC), a Marie Curie Initial Training Network and a special focus will be on pancreatic cancer.
The IonTraC is a European research consortium funded within the Marie Curie Initial Training Network action and has a special focus on pancreatic cancer, funded by the European Commission for 4 years. Ion-TraCs’ aim is to provide a structured PhD training programme in and beyond the fields of ion transport and oncology with extensive focus on mobility and collaboration.
IonTraC is composed of 11 research units (9 academic and 2 industrial/SME partners from 5 European coun-tries) with long-standing, complementary expertise in transport physiology, biophysics, pathology, cell biol-ogy, pharmacology, optical imaging, experimental and clinical oncology. The overall aim of the IonTraC project is to comprehensively test the hypotheses that proteins involved in ion transport constitute novel di-agnostic/therapeutic targets for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).
This Ph.D. position (with a duration of 3 years) is affiliated with the Department of Bioscience, Biotechnol-ogy and Pharmalogical Sciences of the University of Bari in Italy and is lead by Stephan Reshkin.
The Ph.D. project is entitled: An EGFR-based therapy targeting the NHERF1-EGFR-NHE1 axis. The aim is to elucidate the roles of the Na+/H+ exchanger NHE1, its scaffolding protein, NHERF1, in regulating epidermal growth factor receptor EGFR and therapy directed at the EGFR during PDAC progression in relation to desmoplastic microenviroment (thick stroma, hypoxia, low pHe/high lactate and low nutrients) that characterizes PDAC. It’s ultimate goal to design a therapy targeting components of the “EGFR axis” based on the findings of the project. As paclitaxel therapy has been shown to be NHE1-dependent in breast cancer and is used in PDAC therapy, this avenue in combination (‘cocktail’) therapy will also be explored. Obviously, if the inhibition of NHE1 can synergistically increase paclitaxel action also in PDAC as it has in the other cancers, then there is a realistic possibility for a radical improvement in PDAC treatment and to improve patients’ quality of life. The results of !
 this project, ie. novel biomarkers and preclinically validated therapeutic strategies for treating PDAC, will therefore be of high relevance not only to the research commu-nity but also to clinical oncology, patient organizations and SMEs/industry
Eligibility for participation in a Marie Curie Initial Training Network: Applicants for PhD must be in the first 4 years after obtaining their Master´s degree (see above). Applicants must not be a national of the host country and must not have worked or studied in the host country for more than 12 months in the pre-vious 3 year period. Applicants for PhD (3 years) must hold a degree (Master) in medical science, biology, biochemistry, biotechnology, physics, chemistry or related fields, with relevant preparative training. An as-sessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the applications. The final selection of the successful can-didate will be made by the projects leader and the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the evaluation committee. The successful candidates will then be requested to formally apply for enrollment as a PhD student in the PhD program entitled ‘Cellular and Molecular Physiology and Biotechnology’ (Fisiologia e Biotecnologie Cellulari!
 e Molecolari), University of Bari. Moreover, the salary of the candidate will be in accordance with the rules and regulations laid down in the Marie Curie Grant Agreement.


Stephan Reshkin
Department of Bioscience, Biotechnology and Pharmalogical Sciences of the University of Bari
Bari, Italy

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