PhD student position in bone biology and (patho-)physiology

KU Leuven
April 05 2016
Position Type
Full Time
The Laboratory of Skeletal Cell Biology and Physiology (SCEBP) studies the genetic and molecular control of bone development, growth, remodeling and repair, and is interested in the contribution of the skeleton to homeostasis and disease in the broader physiological context of the organism. Thorough insights into how healthy bones are built during embryogenesis and maintained in adult life are key to the development of new anabolic bone therapies, which are much needed for treatment of bone diseases such as osteoporosis and in tissue-engineered applications to overcome compromised fracture healing. We currently focus particularly on the movement and positioning of osteogenic precursor cells and the interplay between these cells and their local microenvironment, as well as investigating their functioning in whole-body glucose homeostasis.

The SCEBP Lab is integrated in the Skeletal Biology and Engineering Research Center (SBE), Department of Development and Regeneration, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven). We are located on a large and productive Health Science Campus where basic, translational and clinical research is happening side by side. The KU Leuven is consistently ranked within the top of Europe's leading universities and English is the working language for research; for more information visit

Project: Cell-intrinsic signaling molecules related to cellular adhesion and migration in osteoprogenitors: roles in bone formation and (patho-)physiology.

In this PhD project, the student will explore the role of specific signaling molecules, belonging to pathways regulating cellular adhesion and migration, in the cell fate decisions and differentiation of skeletal progenitors, and how these contribute to controlling bone formation in development, homeostasis and/or fracture repair. Moreover, we will assess whether deregulation of these cellular functions in bone may have broader (patho-)physiological consequences, for instance by affecting the interplay between the skeleton and systemic energy metabolism. Insights from this PhD research will lead to a better understanding of osteoblast biology, and may have important therapeutic implications in the control of widespread metabolic diseases such as osteoporosis and diabetes.


Techniques: In this study, a variety of state-of-the-art techniques will be employed, with a central focus on the generation and use of genetically altered mouse models. Mice will be analyzed at embryonic and postnatal stages, including by histology and immunohistochemistry, light and fluorescent microscopy, FACS, microCT, molecular biology (including qRT-PCR, Western blot, and possibly RNA-Seq), metabolic tests, and in vitro culture assays using cell lines, primary cells and/or tissue explants.


Key words: Bone, mesenchymal proge

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess