Positions and job offers for early-stage researchers

A4B calls for 15 early-stage researchers (PhD students) with the aim to produce the much-needed specialists in the field of therapeutic proteins (TP). Within their respective project, each PhD student will receive a background in production, analysis and economic exploitation of TPs, and training in relevant soft skills. This training will be provided during dedicated Training Schools, soft skills training sessions and a number of workshops to be hosted at the different partner institutions.

Requirements

All applicants must have completed their Master’s degree or diploma. They must be proficient in spoken and written English to derive the full benefit from the network training. Other requirements individual to the host institution may apply; please see the official job offers linked within the descriptions of the ESR positions on this page.

Mobility rule

Applicants for any ESR position must not have resided or carried out their main activity in the country of the host institution within the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment. Short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.

How to apply

Please see the linked job offers for further information, application requirements, and deadlines. For your application, please contact the scientist-in-charge listed with the ESR position unless noted otherwise.

ESR positions in the A4B project

ESR1: Fast quantification of intact therapeutic protein species

Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany

Project description

ESR1 will work the development of fast and “top-down” LC-MSMS based approaches for a relative label-free, unambiguous quantification of intact therapeutic protein species (TP-S). The candidate will apply mass spectrometric methods to identify and quantify TP-S via LC-MSMS employing rational targeted fragmentation techniques.

ESR2: Improvement of liquid chromatography for analysis and purification of therapeutic protein species via rational protein purification parameter screening and sample displacement chromatography

Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany

Project description

ESR2 aims the improvement of liquid chromatography methods for analysis and purification of therapeutic protein species (TP-S). Therefore, they will rationally screen parameters for liquid chromatography including sample displacement chromatography. They will will work closely together with ESR1, since the read-out for the chromatographic separations (ESR2) will be done by those TD-MS based quantification methods developed by ESR1.

ESR2 will attend secondments at Agilent Technologies and at BOKU (Universität für Bodenkultur, Vienna), to develop automated sample preparation procedures for protein analysis and methods for downstream processing, respectively.

ESR3: Bioinformatics method development for quantitative therapeutic protein species analytics

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany

Project description

The student will focus on the development of new algorithmic techniques to identify and quantify protein species. Recent advances in top-down mass spectrometry enable new options for the characterization of protein species. We will develop novel algorithms integrating top-down data with bottom-up data and thus permit a more comprehensive view on protein species. Integrating the data in a probabilistic framework will support in depth characterization of post-translational modifications. Inspired by algorithmic ideas from label-free quantification, this data will also be used to obtain accurate estimates of relative concentrations of protein species.

ESR4: Development and use of monoclonal affinity proteins

Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan
Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, Sweden

Project description

At KTH we will focus on the development of efficient affinity capture tools to be used for selective purification and detection. This will be accomplished through the selection of novel binding proteins, monoclonal affinity proteins, from randomized protein libraries. By the use of different display methods, protein domains with high selectivity and affinity will be achieved. The new affinity proteins will be analyzed regarding stability and affinity to the target molecules. Furthermore, the binders will be optimized for analytical and preparative purification of the target proteins.

The candidate should be highly motivated for doing scientific research and should have well developed analytical and problem solving skills. Equally important is great communication skills as the center is a large collaboration between three different universities and eight biotech companies.

ESR5: New methods for the mass spectrometric glycosylation analysis of therapeutic protein species

Leiden University Medical Center
Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands

As an early-stage researcher (ESR) you will mainly carry out your research at the Center for Proteomics and Metabolomics (CPM) at the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC). The project includes research and training secondments to other A4B partners. You will interact and develop research collaborations with the A4B partners, and in addition you will participate in activities of the Innovative Training Network, including attending training courses and visiting other sites. Teaching and mentoring a Bachelor or Master student will likewise be part of the experience you will gain.

Project description

The two early-stage researchers will work on the development of methods for the separation and mass spectrometric characterization of biologics. This will include the analysis of intact proteins as well as the characterization of proteins at the level of glycopeptides applying high-throughput mass spectrometry methods.

ESR6: Separation and mass spectrometric characterization of intact therapeutic protein species including conformers and complexes

Leiden University Medical Center
Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands

As an early-stage researcher (ESR) you will mainly carry out your research at the Center for Proteomics and Metabolomics (CPM) at the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC). The project includes research and training secondments to other A4B partners. You will interact and develop research collaborations with the A4B partners, and in addition you will participate in activities of the Innovative Training Network, including attending training courses and visiting other sites. Teaching and mentoring a Bachelor or Master student will likewise be part of the experience you will gain.

Project description

The two early-stage researchers will work on the development of methods for the separation and mass spectrometric characterization of biologics. This will include the analysis of intact proteins as well as the characterization of proteins at the level of glycopeptides applying high-throughput mass spectrometry methods.

ESR7: Comprehensive characterization of therapeutic protein species by top-down mass spectrometry (TDMS) and its expansion to large proteins

Syddansk Universitet
Syddansk Universitet, Denmark

Project description

The PhD research project entails the analysis and quantification of intact therapeutic proteins and their post-translational modifications (PTMs, e.g. disulfide bonds, phosphorylation, glycosylation). The candidate will test, apply and benchmark chromatographic and electrophoretic techniques for separation of intact protein species (proteoforms) prior to detailed protein structure analysis mass spectrometry. The candidate will use advanced tandem mass spectrometry technologies, including HCD, ETD, UVPD and combinations thereof to obtain comprehensive amino acid sequence information and PTM maps of selected therapeutic proteins. The main focus will be the integration of experimental methods (LC, CE, MS/MS) with advanced bioinformatics/statistics workflows for detailed intact protein structure analysis and quantification of protein biologics in the mass range 20 kDa to 200 kDa.

The project will include secondments to Leiden University (NL) – advanced glycoprotein analysis; Bruker, Bremen (D) – top-down mass spectrometry; Univ. Groningen (NL) – advanced chromatography and chemometrics/informatics.

The ESR7 candidate will obtain a solid theoretical and experimental background in protein chemistry, LC and MS for therapeutic protein analysis. This will include comprehensive training in ESI MS/MS and HCD/ETD/UVPD applications, interpretation of tandem mass spectra using computational tools, and detailed knowledge of procedures for quality control of therapeutic proteins in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.

ESR8: Automatable and high throughput techniques to determine site specificity and quantification of N and O glycan profiles of EPO and TNF-AB

Ludger Ltd.
Ludger Ltd., United Kingdom

Project description

The PhD student will focus on the development of automatable and high throughput techniques to determine site specificity and quantification of N and O glycan profiles of EPO and TNF-AB. The project will build upon a recently developed product, VTAG, used to analyze and relatively quantify glycan types on the Fc receptor of monoclonal antibodies.

The PhD position will suit someone with both synthetic chemistry and analytical chemistry experience and will involve the synthesis of a novel fluorophore to be used for automated high throughput glycan and glycopeptide analysis.

ESR9: Pharmacokinetics: Analysis of therapeutic protein species in complex matrices

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Netherlands

The PhD positions in Groningen will be located in the Analytical Biochemistry research group and focus on studying the biotransformation of therapeutic proteins in systems mimicking the in vivo situation to predict efficacy and PKPD parameters. This entails affinity enrichment of therapeutic proteins and their detailed analysis by liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC-MS). The PhD student in Groningen will work in close collaboration with the other PhD students in the network and with industrial partners (e.g. Hexal AG, PRA Health Sciences). The PhD students in Groningen will interact closely with other group members and with clinicians from the adjacent University Medical Center Groningen.

Project description

ESR9 will be working on pharmacokinetics and therefore analyse TP-S in complex biological matrices. He/she will develop quantitative LC-MS/MS assays as well as selective enrichment methods for A4B proteins and their metabolites. Furthermore, he/she will identify and quantify biotransformation products and relate structural changes to function to derive pharmacokinetic data.

Application

You may apply for this position until December 31, 2017, Dutch local time by means of the application form in the linked job offer.

ESR10: Metabolism: Characterizing protein metabolites from in vitro and in vivo studies

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Netherlands

The PhD positions in Groningen will be located in the Analytical Biochemistry research group and focus on studying the biotransformation of therapeutic proteins in systems mimicking the in vivo situation to predict efficacy and PKPD parameters. This entails affinity enrichment of therapeutic proteins and their detailed analysis by liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC-MS). The PhD student in Groningen will work in close collaboration with the other PhD students in the network and with industrial partners (e.g. Hexal AG, PRA Health Sciences). The PhD students in Groningen will interact closely with other group members and with clinicians from the adjacent University Medical Center Groningen.

Project description

ESR10 will characterize protein metabolites from in vitro studies that mimic the in vivo situation to infer their metabolism in patients. He/she will therefore isolate defined protein metabolites from TP-S, characterize them with LC-MS/MS and study their activity in bioactivity assays developed in cooperation with Hexal.

Application

You may apply for this position until December 31, 2017, Dutch local time by means of the application form in the linked job offer.

ESR11: Protein quantification by isotope labeling

Universitetet i Oslo
Universitetet i Oslo, Norway

A position for a PhD research fellow SKO 1017 in mass spectrometry-based protein analysis is available at the Proteomics group at the Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo. The Proteomics group is applying proteome technologies for own research and customers of the proteomics service.

Project description

The project at the University of Oslo is focusing on developing protein quantification methods for therapeutic proteins and their modifications using peptide and protein labeling techniques in combination with liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry.

ESR12: Continuous separation of recombinant antibodies by non-chromatography methods

Universität für Bodenkultur Wien
Universität für Bodenkultur Wien, Austria

Two of the A4B PhD positions, ESR12 and ESR13, will be based at the Department of Biotechnology, within the University of Natural Resources and Life Science in Vienna, Austria, supervised by Univ.-Prof. Dr. Alois Jungbauer.

Project description

Design and engineering of a fully continuous operation based on precipitation by organic sol-vents, flocculation and removal of residual impurities by monoliths. Preparative high resolution separation of recombinant antibodies purified by conventional methods and by continuous chromatographic methods. Economic and environmental footprint of the continuous process, and comparison to the conventional process regarding COG, LCA and environmental footprint.

ESR13: Improvement of the production process

Universität für Bodenkultur Wien
Universität für Bodenkultur Wien, Austria

Two of the A4B PhD positions, ESR12 and ESR13, will be based at the Department of Biotechnology, within the University of Natural Resources and Life Science in Vienna, Austria, supervised by Univ.-Prof. Dr. Alois Jungbauer.

Project description

1. Controlled scale up of recombinant antibody production from 1 L to 10 L scale perfusion reac-tor using model based approach. 2. Analysis of the secretome of CHO cells by 2-D DiGE and HPLC-MS at small and pilot scale. 3. Purification of antibody by conventional methods using staphylococcal protein A affinity chromatography, ion exchange chromatography and HIC. 4. Purification of antibody variants by cation-exchange chromatography with lin-ear pH gradient.

ESR14: Development of Multiple Reaction Monitoring (MRM) / Data-Independent-Acquisition (DIA) for protein quantification

Alphalyse A/S
Alphalyse A/S, Denmark

Alphalyse is offering one student a 3-year PhD fellowship, based in Odense, Denmark.

Project description

As a PhD student at Alphalyse your main research will focus on the ability to quantify TP’s through the entire development phase of a TP. Multiple Reaction Monitoring (MRM) is an LC-MS/MS based approach for direct quantification of defined proteins. In addition, data-independent-acquisition (DIA) based quantification will be used.

One of the key challenges is to be able to perform quantification on material throughout the upstream and downstream process and in different matrices. This will include optimization of the protease digest procedure, analyte enrichment and MS/MS analysis.

ESR15: Pharmacokinetics and Metabolism: Analysis of therapeutic species in complex matrices

HEXAL AG
HEXAL AG, Germany

Project description

Research aim of this PhD position is to better understand the pharmacokinetics and metabolism of complex molecules (e.g. monoclonal antibodies and other therapeutic proteins). The PhD student will develop in vitro incubation methods for therapeutic proteins to simulate in vivo conditions and analytical methods applying besides others liquid chromatographic and mass spectrometric methods.

Within her/his respective project, each PhD student will receive a background in production, analysis and economic exploitation of therapeutic proteins, and training in relevant soft skills.