Available Positions

If you have any positions, and you’re a member, contact us by email (web@ukev.org.uk) to advertise them below:

PhD Studentship in Faculty of Medical Sciences – Investigating Extracellular Vesicle MicroRNA Profiles in ECP-Response in Patients with Graft versus Host Disease

Newcastle University – closing 2 Sept 2020 remains open due to Covid application processing extension

This study will investigate the molecular pathology of GvHD, by further understanding circulatory microRNA profiles in the extracellular vesicles of patient serum. Studies will focus on patients undergoing ECP therapy, which has been shown to have significant success, despite the precise mechanisms of action being unknown. As well as inform on the molecular pathogenesis of GvHD, this will provide novel insights into mechanisms to intervene disease pathology via ECP therapy, leading to earlier and more successful intervention.

For more details see: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/postgraduate/funding/sources/allstudents/tc011.html


Extracellular vesicles shaping the bowel cancer microbiome

Sheffield Hallam University – closing 30th Sept 2020

It is clear that the microbial ecology of the gut plays a key role in health and disease. Dysbiosis of the microbiome and changes in the formation of biofilms within the gut correlates with a range of diseases, including bowel cancer, raising the possibility that disrupting microbial dysfunction could be a useful treatment strategy.

Our team has established a research programme to develop the isolation and characterisation of extracellular vesicles (EVs) from bowel cancer cells, and to investigate their functional role. Building on this, we have recently demonstrated that EVs released by bowel cancer cells appear to alter the behaviour of bacteria, altering growth, biofilm formation and pathogenicity of E. coli.

In this project, we will evaluate the uptake and impact of healthy and cancer-derived EVs on a range of relevant bacterial gut species using an array of phenotypic markers (growth, biofilm formation, pathogenicity), and genomic and transcriptomic analysis. We will characterise this host-driven microbiological regulation and the cross-talk between microbiome and gut through EVs in bowel cancer, investigating the novel hypothesis that regulatory RNA within EVs may directly target bacterial transcriptomes. Finally, we will undertake proof-of-concept studies to determine whether exercise can alter regulatory EV cargo, altering this interaction with the microbiome and potentially reducing the risk of bowel cancer.

For more details see: https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/extracellular-vesicles-shaping-the-bowel-cancer-microbiome/?p123077


A Breathomic-Based Extracellular Vesicle Approach to Improve Malignant mesothelioma Diagnosis

Sheffield Hallam University – closing 30th Sept 2020

Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an incurable cancer associated with late-diagnosis, poor 5-year survival and limited treatment options. Current diagnostic options are invasive and fail to identify MM patients at an earlier, treatable stage, highlighting the urgent need for a new, non-invasive diagnostic method. One new area involves volatile organic compounds (VOCs), these act as signature molecules in exhaled breath to identify cancer. Previously, we have shown that distinct MM cell lines can be distinguished using their distinct VOC profile. VOC profiles directly agree with the few emerging reports on exhaled patient breath. It remains unclear what a diagnostic breath test will look like in clinical practice. However, it is crucial that MM breath analysis research explores and combines the full range of diagnostic markers.
Extracellular vesicles (EV) are also secreted by mesothelioma cells, revealing additional diagnostic information. In MM, several EV-derived RNAs can modulate crucial cell functions such as methylation, autophagy, apoptosis, proliferation, invasion, migration and chemo/radio-resistance. Recently, one study reported that EVs can be detected in exhaled breath condensate in bronchial asthma. Therefore, we aim to combine VOC profiles with EV-derived miRNAs and other non-coding-RNA to assist with differential diagnosis of MM.
For the first time, this study will explore the extraction and identification of RNA from mesothelioma derived EVs to reveal diagnostic information. We aim to diagnose mesothelioma non-invasively through a combined VOC-based/RNA derived EV breath test. This research has the potential to revolutionise the way we detect and diagnose mesothelioma, data generated may also inform other cancers.
The research team is based within the Biomolecular Sciences Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University. The study will be led by Dr Haywood-Small (mesothelioma biology) in collaboration with Dr Nick Peake (EV isolation and interest in miRNA and functional analysis) and Dr Mari Herigstad (physiologist with a speciality in respiratory symptoms). Additional support will be provided by Dr Jason Webber (interest in EV isolation from biofluids, and biomarker discovery), a senior lecturer based at the Institute of Life Science, Swansea University Medical School.

For more details see: https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/a-breathomic-based-extracellular-vesicle-approach-to-improve-malignant-mesothelioma-diagnosis/?p123084


The MHC class I peptidome of extracellular vesicles in lung cancer- searching for novel therapeutic targets

University of St Andrews – ending 31st August 2020

Lung cancer remains a significant problem in both Scotland and the whole UK, with survival rates five years after diagnosis still only between 10 and 20%. A new type of treatment for a range of cancers, called checkpoint inhibitor therapy is however showing significant promise. This therapy works essentially by allowing CD8 T cells of the immune response to detect cancer antigens presented on HLA class I molecules, and thus kill the cancer cells.

There is however a significant gap in our knowledge of antigen presentation to CD8 T cells. Extracellular vesicles (EV) are small (50-200 nm) sized vesicles released by most cell types, including cancer cells. They are highly bioactive and can alter the behaviour of recipient cells. They also often contain HLA class I molecules, and thus are potential sources to identify relevant tumour associated and tumour specific antigenic peptides. This project will use a combination of cell lines and patient samples to study the EV HLA class I peptidome of lung cancer, to determine if EV isolated from a simple blood sample can be used as a liquid biopsy relevant to the clinical treatment of patients.

We are seeking highly motivated candidates with a minimum 2.1 or first class degree BSc, or MSc in a relevant field.

For more information please contact Dr Simon Powis (). The project is jointly supervised by Dr Simon Powis of the School of Medicine and Dr Sally Shirran of the School of Biology who are experts in immunology and mass spectrometry respectively.
Starting date: September, October or November 2020, flexible by arrangement due to ongoing COVID-19 response.
To apply, candidates should submit a CV, plus a personal statement that outlines research interests and past experience, and motivation to complete a PhD (2 pages maximum), and contact information for two academic referees by email to: 

For more information on the Schools of Medicine and Biology see: https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/medicine/ and https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/biology/


Developing Automated Cell and Exosome Counters for Parkinson’s Disease

Loughborough Unviersity – Ending 1st Jan 2020

We current live in a time where the world population is aging, leading to a surge in aged related illness. Neurodegenerative diseases are largely linked to aging, being progressive and for the most part are mostly without cure and only limited treatment options. Parkinson’s disease is the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disease worldwide, with a good level of understanding of the pathology already known, yet how the disease initiates and progresses remains a challenge. Parkinson’s is characterised by a loss of movement control including resting tremors, muscular rigidity, bradykinesia, and general postural instability, resulting from a degeneration of dopamine signalling cells within a central part of the brain. Over the last decade advances have been made in better understanding of the disease, with some links to misfolded α-synuclein proteins known to lead to Lewy bodies and cause cellular dysfunction. There is also well known involvement of microRNAs in Parkinson’s pathogenesis. Being able to diagnose disease at an early stage enables planning and active monitoring to support these patients.

Extracellular vesicular bodies such as microvesicles (MVs) and exosomes are currently under intense investigation. This is due to the wide role they appear to play, at a fundamental level, in many biological processes, both physiological and pathological. MVs originate through at least three mechanisms: (a) breakdown of dying cells into apoptotic bodies; (b) blebbing of the cellular plasma membrane (ectosomes); and (c) the endosomal processing and emission of plasma membrane material in the form of exosomes. Their cellular origin, structure, function and characterization has been extensively reviewed, though still the subject of much debate. The previous lack of suitable methods for their detection, analysis, and phenotyping is proving to be a significant limitation in these studies. Recent research has demonstrated that neuronal-derived MVs isolated from peripheral blood may be useful in the evaluation of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.

The limitation of current analytical techniques is confounded by the variation in protocols for the purification, isolation and storage of MVs. This project will provide a new technology for the characterisation of MVs direct from cell culture with no sample preparation. With an ability to monitor in real-time the production of MVs within our model “brain-on-a-chip” device. The technology can also isolate individual MVs from the system for further genomic and proteomic studies, This will allow researchers to understand/ follow and characterise the disease in unprecedented detail.

Supervised by Dr Mark Platt and Dr Paul Roach at Loughborough University who bring expertise in 3D printed nanopore sensors for screening biological and inorganic materials within samples, and microfluidic model systems of in vitro brain circuitry designed to accurately reproduce part of the complex circuitry involved in neurodegenerative diseases.

The project will develop a current ‘brain-on-a-chip’ technology to integrate sensors with rapid data extraction/ analysis for the investigation of neurologically derived MV’s. These sensors have the resolution of a single exosome, capable of screening large volumes of liquid for a single or billions of cellular particles. The researchers will have access to our manufacturing facilities, sensors, laboratories and integrated into a vibrant research group researching neurodegenerative diseases. The project will develop, manufacture and test a resistive pulse sensor combined with embedded optical sensors. The outputs from the sensors will be analysed using a range of open access and bespoke statistical software. Data from genomic and proteomic analyses of the extracted MVs will be integrated into the biological model.

Applicants should have a background in chemical and biological sciences, with preference given to applicants with experience and competence in analytical and biophysical analysis. Support and training will be given in all aspects of the project, including photolithography, cell culture, microfluidics design and fabrication and data analysis.

See https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/developing-automated-cell-and-exosome-counters-for-parkinson-s-disease/?p123090


Multiple postdoctoral fellow and technical staff positions
available immediately

Witwer Lab,Johns Hopkins University, USA

Are you ready to join the extracellular vesicle rEVolution?
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are taking the world by storm and are exploited as biomarkers and
therapeutics. There’s still a lot of basic biology to work out, too. Our lab studies EVs in infectious and
central nervous system diseases.
Please help us explore the potential of EVs by using cutting-edge techniques for EV separation and
characterization. Examples of project areas include:
• Using and developing novel technologies for single EV phenotyping
• Applying EV release and uptake assays to drug discovery and development
• Studying EVs and enveloped viruses (HIV, SARS-CoV-2)
• Profiling and functional studies of EVs in neurodegenerative diseases: human samples, iPSC
models
Successful candidates will be highly motivated and have good writing skills, record-keeping abilities,
and ample laboratory experience (not necessarily with EVs). Interested? Send a CV and cover letter to
Kenneth Witwer, kwitwer1@jhmi.edu

Because of COVID-19 issues, candidates already in the US may have preference.


Postdoctoral Fellow – Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, United States

A postdoctoral fellow position funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is available
immediately in the laboratory of Dr. Paula Hurley in the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt
University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, United States. The contract is for two years and the
project aims to refine, with high rigor and reproducibility, the methodology to identify
biomarkers of clinically significant prostate cancer in circulating extracellular vesicles. This
project is in collaboration with Dr. Dolores Di Vizio in the Cancer Biology Program at Cedars-
Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, United States and Dr. Andries Zijlstra at Genentech,
San Francisco, CA, United States.

Interested applicants should send their curriculum vitae, a summary of past achievements, a
statement of future goals and a list of 3 professional references by email to:
paula.hurley@vumc.org


Also try: www.findapostdoc.com, or https://academicpositions.com in the EU.

Those of you interested in the USA should check out: https://www.exosome-rna.com/tag/postdoc/

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