Early stage researcher PhD fellowship on "Innovative training in methods for future data" - Marie...

DIFA - Department of Physics and Astronomy
August 28 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

IMforFUTURE Project

The development of high-throughput genotyping technologies enabled one of the most fascinating bursts of discovery in biology. Particularly promising novel omics is glycomics. The majority of all proteins are glycosylated and consequently, glycans play an important role in virtually all diseases, as it was clearly emphasized in a recent comprehensive report endorsed by US Academies of Science. Due to structural complexity of glycans and technological limitations the knowledge about glycans is lagging significantly behind the knowledge about polypeptide part of proteins, but significant progress has been made recently and glycomics is now ready to meet other omics for systems biology. A successful systems biology approach requires understanding of measurements methods as well as the statistical models used. New emerging challenges in development of efficient multi-omics data analysis approaches need to be addressed. Glycans are encoded in a complex dynamic network containing hundreds of genes. We will study the link between genetics, epigenetics, glycans and metagenomics. The aim is to integrate all these data to investigate complex mechanisms at the basis of complex human disease, these are caused by a combination of genetic background and numerous environmental factors that act during a lifetime and ageing.

Job Description

Full-time position for Early Stage Researcher in the field of analysis of omics data with network methods to develop new advanced statistical methods for integrated analysis of multiple omics datasets aimed to elucidate biological processes as ageing and diseases. The appointed ESR is expected to be enrolled in the PhD program and submit the thesis within the period of employment. Training activities involve PhD courses, participation to seminars/workshops/conferences. Research training will include secondments at other network partners.

The work will be carried out at the University of Bologna, at the Laboratory of Applied Physics and Systems Biophysics, Department of Physics and Astronomy (DIFA) of the Alma Mater Studiorum - Italy., under the supervision of Prof. Gastone Castellani. The objective of the research project is the integration of genetics, epigenomics, metagenomics and glycomics into systems biology and to develop new advanced statistical methods for integrated analysis of multiple omics datasets in the ageing field.

In particular ESR will develop network methods for  a system approach aimed to biological interpretation of omics datasets such as genetics, epigenomics, metagenomics and glycomics, including data from centenarians on ageing . The following strategy will be adopted:

  1. To refine a network propagation algorithm recently developed by our group;

  2. To develop new network methods and extend them to multiple networks;

  3. To implement and use the Master Equation approach to describe biological processes;

  4. To further develop the multivariate network approach by using correlations based techniques enriched by “a priori biological knowledge” and considering stochastic ecological models.

To complement this training, the project includes a planned secondment at the following beneficiaries:

1) glyXera (M39, 2 wks) to learn about measurements and intersectoral.experience 2) UNI-ZG (M27, 3 mths) to learn about epigenetics and intersectoral experience

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This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess