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Doctoral Candidate (PhD student) in Systems Biomedicine

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The University of Luxembourg has the following vacancy in the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB)

Doctoral Candidate (PhD student) in Systems Biomedicine (m/f)
  • Fixed-term contract 3 years, 40h/week, may be extended up to 4 years
  • Student status (start date: as soon as possible)
  • Ref. I1R-ICS-PFN-14CASC
    Area:     Calcium Signalling in Cell Differentiation 


Ca2+ is an important and versatile second messenger in eukaryotic cells that translates extracellular signals into intracellular responses often in the form of repetitive increases of the cytosolic Ca2+ concentration. We have recently shown by an interdisciplinary approach that Ca2+ spiking is stochastic and exhibits a fold change behavior in response to external stimuli. Despite the randomness of the spiking behavior, Ca2+ signaling obeys a cell type and pathway specific signature in form of a robust relation between the standard deviation and the average period of the stochastic dynamics. While we established a generic encoding relation of Ca2+ signaling that explains a wide range of experimental studies on Ca2+ dynamics, the impact of this signaling mechanism on downstream targets including gene expression and corresponding cell fate is not yet investigated. The project will address this fundamental challenge of the decoding mechanism by investigating the effect of distinct Ca2+ signatures on transcription and cell fate in medical relevant systems. Therefore cell fate dynamics and differentiation processes we will be studied experimentally on single cell basis also in collaboration with the Huang lab at the Institute of Systems Biology in Seattle (USA) where the successful candidate will spend some month. The experimental results will be utilized to extend an existing computational multiscale model of Ca2+ spiking by transcriptional dynamics enabling quantitative insights into the only poorly characterized decoding mechanism.
The project has a highly interdisciplinary character by combining multiscale modelling and experimental single cell techniques including imaging and single cell qPCR. The experimental part will focus initially on imaging spontaneous and driven Ca2+ dynamics and subsequent phenotyping of cells. After establishing these protocols, single cell qPCR will be performed in close collaboration with the Huang lab in Seattle (USA). In the modelling part the PhD candidate will use analytical as well as computational techniques to analyse reaction-diffusion systems for an integrative analysis of the experimental data.
  • Masters degree
  • critical thinking, capacity for teamwork
  • general biological background (ideally with fluorescent microscopy and/or cloning)
  • mathematical knowledge (ideally including skills in stochastic processes and C/C++ programming)
  • delight in travelling, some background in cell differentiation and/or Ca2+ dynamics won’t harm
  • Excellent English writing and speaking skills are required.
The PhD student will be employed at the University of Luxembourg which will also award the PhD degree. The position offers interdisciplinary research opportunities at several hot spots of Systems Biology, a comprehensive sallary and great educational support.

Please contact for further details:
Dr. Alexander Skupin: alexander.skupin@uni.lu
Applications (in English) should contain the following documents:
  • A detailed curriculum vitae
  • Cover letter mentioning the reference number
  • List of publications
  • Name and addresses of three referees
Please apply online by 31st January 2015 via the following link :




Contact detail

How to apply:
Please apply online by 31st January 2015 [AS1] via the following link:  http://emea3.mrted.ly/jtj8
Send application to
Dr. Alexander Skupin: alexander.skupin@uni.lu

Job profile

Working hours
Contract duration
Type of job
PhD Project
Work experience
job experience is not required
Working place
1511 Luxembourg
Area of expertise
Biology & Life Sciences