The Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) is an internationally recognised center for research in tropical infectious diseases. Within the Department of Biomedical Sciences, our dynamic Microbiology Group hosts research units that perform basic and translational research on a multitude of (arbo)viruses, mycobacteria, and host-pathogen interactions, with many worldwide collaborators. A common goal that drives the research within our group is to understand the patterns and drivers of adaptation to changing environments (drug resistance, immune evasion, co-infection and colonisation of new hosts) and its impact on intra- and inter-host heterogeneity and on transmission. We have developed worldwide leadership in the use of phylogenetic approaches and are developing our expertise in complementary ‘omics approaches to answer these questions, both in field and experimental conditions.
The Microbiology Group in the Department of Biomedical Sciences includes the Unit of Virology, Unit of Experimental Immunology, and Unit of Mycobacteriology.
At the Unit of Virology, led by Prof Kevin Arien, both the Ebola virus and Simian Immunodeficiency viruses as the origins of HIV were discovered. Today the unit is focusing on the development of new diagnostic tools for (re-)emerging viruses, including metagenomics sequencing, and the application of these tools in low-resource settings and in outbreak context. More fundamental research focusses on virus-vector-host molecular interactions of arthropod-borne viruses.
The Unit of Experimental Immunology, led by Prof Eva Bartok, was established in March 2021. The unit will focus on innate immune recognition of mycobacterial, parasitic and (arbo)viral infections, not only in the host but also within the pathogens themselves and their metazoan vectors. Together with the Unit of Virology and Unit of Entomology, we are also working on interdisciplinary approaches to preventing and controlling arbovirus infection.
The Unit of Mycobacteriology, led by Prof Bouke de Jong, is a renowned laboratory dedicated to the control of tuberculosis, leprosy and other mycobacterial diseases, with in-depth expertise and strong collaborations world-wide, including with partners in highly endemic countries. We conduct fundamental and applied research and provide services to clinical laboratories, control programs, NGO projects and for clinical trial support. The unit also hosts the ISO9001-certified BCCM/ITM public collection of mycobacterial strains, offering high quality microbial and genetic resources, services and scientific expertise for industry and academia. Computational analyses include variants and drug resistance calling, phylogenetics, transmission clustering, and de novo assemblies.
The Microbiology Group offers a unique position of senior researcher in computational biology, embedded in the Unit of Experimental Immunology.
- You will (co)-lead ‘omics research with the different units of the research group and coordinate a computational biology platform working on mycobacteria, viruses, metazoan vectors and the human host (focus on NGS-genomics and transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics).
- You will acquire funding for the ‘omics research within the group.
- You will build a network of internal and external contacts beyond the boundaries of your specialist field.
- You will represent the research group’s interests in external fora.
- You will guide and supervise scientific staff, doctoral and master students who are affiliated to the three units in computational biology.
- You will contribute to the departmental and the research group’s management.
- You will focus on research for at least 80% of your time.
- You will write high quality publications for scientific journals and specialist magazines.
- You hold a master’s degree in biology, (bio)medical sciences, biochemistry, bioinformatics or a related field.
- You hold a PhD in sciences, on a relevant topic such as bioinformatics, computational biology, genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, population genetics, molecular epidemiology.
- You have at least ten years of experience in research.
- You are an expert in computational biology (preferentially in the microbiology/immunology field, experience in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes is an asset) and have experience in developing computational solutions and implementing computational research infrastructure.
- You have a broad expertise in bio-informatic techniques and you have good programming skills in languages such as UNIX, python, R or similar.
- You have experience in whole genome sequence analysis and transcriptome data.
- Experience in proteomics and metabolomics is an asset.
- You have strong research and team leader skills.
- You have good conceptual, analytical and scientific writing skills.
- You are highly motivated, with a multidisciplinary attitude and affinity with ITM's objectives and spirit.
- You speak and write fluently in English.
- You are a team player, have good communication skills and can build strong multi-disciplinary working relationships.
- You are quality-driven, service-minded and result-oriented.
- A strong track record in obtaining competitive research funding is an asset.
- You have strong training skills and you enjoy guiding students.
The ITM is an open and international campus where staff, students and researchers work on the new international health challenges. We strive for excellence, integrity, specificity and efficiency. Your assignment contributes to our mission. We value human dignity and diversity, academic creativity and a critical spirit, solidarity and cooperation, and the well-being of employees, students, patients and clients. Together we ensure a pleasant working atmosphere with attention to work-life balance and opportunities for training. We offer you:
- A full-time contract of two years, extendable, with starting date 1 January 2022.
- A salary set according to the pay scales of ITM and the Flemish universities and to your work experience with supplementary benefits: a public transport subscription and/or bicycle fee, private pension scheme and meal voucher subscription.
- An immigration and relocation assistance package.