Label-free imaging to study 3D tissue microarchitecture in ischemic heart diseas

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
December 15, 2022
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Negotigation
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Label-free imaging to study 3D tissue microarchitecture in ischemic heart


(ref. BAP-2022-816)

Last modification : Tuesday, November 15, 2022

The Department of Cardiovascular Sciences brings together research groups in clinical cardiology and surgery, imaging and hemodynamics, and cellular and molecular cardiology, creating a rich environment for basic and translational studies of heart disease. The Department has well equipped lab space, with access to advanced facilities for in vivo and ex vivo experimental work. The postdoc position is embedded in a collaboration with the Cell and Tissue Imaging Core under a joint research program, STHar-Lite, Second and Third Harmonics, a dynamic and Label-free imaging technique to study (bio)-polymers and cellular structures. The project aims to establish higher harmonic microscopy as an accessible and versatile live imaging approach. This interdisciplinary project is led by Prof. Pieter Vanden Berghe (Director Cell and tissue Imaging Core), in collaboration with Prof. Koen Clays and Thierry Verbiest (Department of Chemistry) and Prof. Karin Sipido in the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences.

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The postdocfellow will probe the ultrastructure and tissue organization of the heart after myocardial infarction, using novel imaging technology being developed under STHar-Lite.The research is embedded in a larger project studying the mechanisms underlying arrhythmias after myocardial infarction (MI), focusing on the heterocellular nature of the MI border zone at the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences.

Cardiac myocytes in the MI border zone remodel in a highly specific manner predisposing this region to arrhythmias (Dries, Amoni et al., 2020). Myofibroblasts from the MI border zone have a distinct phenotype as well, and interact with cardiac myocytes. Using advanced live calcium imaging and electrophysiology in living cardiac slices, we explore these functional cell- cell interactions (PhD project ongoing). This work is under co-supervision of Prof. Llewelyn Roderick and Dr. Eef Dries. The postdoctoral fellow will develop the 2H and 3H imaging of the ultrastructure of the living cardiac slices and will thereby link the functional data with structural tissue organization. This work is co-supervised by Prof. Pieter Vanden Berghe.

External funding supports the position and the research. The postdoc fellow will be hosted in the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences and work within the Cell and tissue Imaging Core for the project.

Selected references:

Dries E,Amoni M, et al. Altered adrenergic response in myocytes bordering a chronic myocardial infarction underlies in vivo triggered activity and repolarization instability. J Physiol. 2020 Jul;598(14):2875-2895. doi: 10.1113/JP278839.

Nagaraju CK, et al. 2019. Myofibroblast modulation of cardiac myocyte structure and function. Sci Rep, 2019; 9(1):8879.

Watson SA,Terracciano CM, Perbellini F. 2019. Myocardial Slices: an Intermediate Complexity Platform for Translational Cardiovascular Research. Cardiovasc DrugsTher. 2019 Apr;33(2):239-244.

de Coene Y,Jooken S, Deschaume O, Van Steenbergen V, Vanden Berghe P, Van den Haute C,Baekelandt V, Callewaert G, Van Cleuvenbergen S, Verbiest T, Bartic C, Clays K.Label-Free Imaging of Membrane Potentials by Intramembrane Field Modulation,Assessed by Second Harmonic Generation Microscopy. Small. 2022 Mar30:e2200205. doi: 10.1002/smll.202200205.

Van Steenbergen V, Boesmans W, Li Z, de Coene Y, Vints K,Baatsen P, Dewachter I, Ameloot M, Clays K, Vanden Berghe P. Molecular understanding of label-free second harmonic imaging of microtubules. NatCommun. 2019 Aug 6;10(1):3530. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11463-8.

  • You hold a PhD-degree or equivalent in Biomedical, Life Sciences, or related areas.
  • Experience in microscopic imaging (confocal fluorescence imaging, ..) and image analysis is expected, preferably within the cardiovascular system.
  • You are flexible, able to work independently and have a problem-solving attitude.
  • You are highly motivated to work in a multidisciplinary research team, and have excellent communication skills in English.
  • International mobility is a plus.
  • Offer
  • We offer a fully funded postdoctoral fellowship for 2 years, with potential extension to a 3rd year. We will support applications for independent external funding.
  • You will join an enthusiastic, multinational research group and be part of an exciting interdisciplinary project.
  • We provide excellent opportunities for broader skill development.
  • KU Leuven offers a stimulating environment for international students and support for junior scientists.
  • Interested?

    For more information please contact Prof. dr. Karin Sipido, tel.: +32 16 33 08 15, mail: or Prof. dr. H Llewelyn Roderick, tel.: +32 16 37 71 50, mail:

    KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

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