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Postdoc position in Spatial Transcriptomics of the musculoskeletal system during adaptation and regeneration

100%, Zurich, fixed-term

The Laboratory for Bone Biomechanics headed by Prof. Ralph Müller at the Department of Health Sciences & Technology, Institute for Biomechanics is offering a Postdoc position in Spatial Transcriptomics of the musculoskeletal system during adaptation and regeneration.

The Laboratory for Bone Biomechanics (LBB) within the Institute for Biomechanics (IfB) includes 21 scientific staff organized within 4 research teams with cross-disciplinary expertise in musculoskeletal biomechanics and imaging, tissue engineering, biomaterials, mechanobiology and animal models. Professor Müller as the Head of the LBB has pioneered micro-tomographic imaging (micro-CT) of biological tissues both in vitro and in vivo, a technology that is now successfully used in hundreds of laboratories. The research the Laboratory is currently pursuing employs state-of-the-art biomechanical testing and simulation techniques, novel in vivo models and related molecular biological methods as well as bioimaging and visualization strategies for musculoskeletal tissues.

Project background

The Postdoc position is embedded within an ERC Advanced project (MechAGE) and an SNF/COST project (GEMSTONE). MechAGE focuses on in vivo single-cell mechanomics of bone adaptation and regeneration in the aging mouse. Using a cross-disciplinary approach with 2D-3D registration of histology sections to micro-CT data, MechAGE aims to establish the technology required to link the transcriptome of single bone cells to their local in vivo environment in 3D space. GEMSTONE will extend the molecular biological methods (e.g. single-cell RNA sequencing, spatial transcriptomics) established within MechAGE to the muscular compartment aiming for a molecular-based spatiotemporal understanding of musculoskeletal mechanobiology during regeneration.

Osteoporosis, one of the most prevalent degenerative diseases, is characterized by a reduction in bone mass and increased fracture risk and has been partly attributed to the decrease in mechanical usage of the skeleton. However, the underlying mechanisms are still poorly understood. By combining in vivo models with molecular biology technologies (single-cell RNA sequencing, spatial transcriptomics) and computational methods (time-lapsed in vivo micro-CT, micro-FE), the MechAGE and GEMSTONE projects will allow a spatiotemporal systems-level understanding of musculoskeletal adaptation and regeneration required for the development of novel targeted therapies in osteoporosis.

Job description

The Postdoc position will be focusing on establishing methods and analyses for spatial transcriptomics of the musculoskeletal system within the MechAGE and GEMSTONE projects: Within MechAGE, we recently developed prematurely aging fluorescent reporter mice for bone cells using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, which will be used in in vivo loading studies on bone adaptation and regeneration. The candidate will establish the methodology and/or analyses approach required for single-cell spatial transcriptomics of musculoskeletal tissue obtained from the in vivo experiments. To link the mechanome of single cells to the local in vivo environment in 3D, micro-FE analysis based on time-lapsed in vivo micro-CT data will be performed in collaboration with team members working on the computational parts of the projects. For the RNA sequencing/bioinformatics work packages of the highly interdisciplinary MechAGE and GEMSTONE projects, we currently offer a Postdoc position within the In vivo Mechanomics team at the LBB.

Your profile

The successful candidate will hold a PhD in Biology, Bioinformatics, Life Sciences, Molecular Health Sciences, Veterinary Medicine or a similar field. The candidate should have a strong background in molecular biology and bioinformatics with a focus on RNA sequencing. Previous experience in either single-cell analyses or spatial transcriptomics is required. Research experience with bone will be advantageous. In the MechAGE project, the candidate will closely interact and collaborate with team members working on biological and computational aspects of the project. Within the GEMSTONE project, the candidate will collaborate with another Postdoc focusing on the in vivo imaging and computational aspects of the project. We are looking for a motivated candidate, who wants to work in a multidisciplinary team at the interface between biology, bioinformatics, engineering and preclinical research with excellent communication skills in English (oral and written).

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.
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We are looking forward to receiving your application. It should include a motivation letter, CV, full university transcripts and names and contact details of two references. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

For further information please contact Dr. med. vet. Dr. rer. nat. Esther Wehrle at (no applications) or visit our group website

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