Small RNAs in insect antiviral immunity

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Belgium

August 20, 2021

Description

Small RNAs in insect antiviral immunity

(ref. BAP-2021-614)

Last modification : Saturday, July 17, 2021

Our research group at KU Leuven studies molecular genetic and epigenetic mechanisms during post-embryonic life in insects. Some more details about our research can be viewed via the website: https:// bio.kuleuven.be/df/jv.

Website unit

Project

The advent of high-throughput sequencing methods drastically changed our view on how genomes are organized, and on how they can influence development of an animal's phenotype. Large parts of metazoan genomes are not coding for proteins. However, this does not necessarily imply that these regions are merely 'junk DNA', as they may still give rise to a diversity of transcript categories with particular regulatory functions. Currently, several classes of small non-coding RNAs are known to interfere with gene expression at different levels, as well as to be implicated in a multitude of biological processes. The discovery of this additional layer of regulatory complexity initiated a new scientific challenge, i.e. to better understand the mechanisms by which small non-coding transcripts exert important regulatory roles.

In insects, the most speciose class of animals on our planet, several small RNA mediated pathways play crucial roles in antiviral immunity and development via a process that is generally designated as RNA interference (RNAi). In this project, our research group aims to unravel their role in antiviral immunity of Helicoverpa armigera, a major lepidopteran pest species that causes important economic losses in agriculture. Improved knowledge of antiviral mechanisms may also contribute to discovery of novel strategies to combat important agricultural pests.

Based on our scientific progress and on the specific background/interests of the selected candidate, a detailed PhD research plan will be worked out.

Profile

You have -or will soon obtain- a MSc degree in biochemistry/biotechnology, biological sciences, bioscience engineering, or equivalent.

You have good knowledge of animal biology, including entomology.

You have excellent knowledge of molecular, cellular and viral biology. A strong interest in, as well as a good knowledge of, statistics and bioinformatics is an advantage too.

You are eager to learn, and have a lively interest in scientific research.

You can work very well in team, as well as independently.

You have a positive and loyal work attitude; you are flexible and dynamic according to the requirements of your research; you are meticulous, involved and take responsibilities very much to heart.

You have good communication skills, both orally and in writing (particularly in English).

You have an eye for detail, a sense of initiative and can proactively think and act.

You are efficient and stress resistant, and able to respect deadlines laid down.

You will follow the rules of good lab practice, research data management and scientific integrity.

Offer

Full-time fixed-term (1y) PhD fellowship, which will be prolonged on a yearly basis in case of positive evaluations (maximal total duration of a PhD fellowship is 4 years).

Interested?

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Jozef Vanden Broeck: tel.: +32 16 32 39 78; email: jozef.vandenbroeck@kuleuven.be

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 diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

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