Pos-Doc Researcher Position (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-031162)

 

Project: NanoBioBarriers: Unravelling the mechanisms underlying the effects of metal-based nanoparticles on biological barriers - a contribution towards the implementation of the safe-by-design concept (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-031162)

 

Call start and finish dates: 28th November to 16th December 2018


 

Summary: The Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto (ISPUP) opens a call to hire one PhD Researcher under Sistema de Apoio à Investigação Científica e Tecnológica (SAICT) – Call nr 02/SAICT/2017 - Projeto de Investigação Científica e Desenvolvimento Tecnológico (IC&DT), funded by Programa Operacional Competitividade e Internacionalização through Fundos Europeus de Desenvolvimento Regional (FEDER/FNR) and through national funds (FCT/OE) (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-029087), under the scope of project NanoBioBarriers: Unravelling the mechanisms underlying the effects of metal-based nanoparticles on biological barriers - a contribution towards the implementation of the safe-by-design concept (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-031162), coordinated by Sónia Fraga.

Metal nanoparticles(M-NPs) are among the most widely used types of manufactured nanomaterials. At present, there are many gaps in the understanding of how M-NPs interact with the biological systems, behave inside cells and modify cellular biochemistry and function. The biological barriers constitute a first line of defence against foreign material and xenobiotics, thus are expected targets of NPs. On the other hand, M-NPs are expected to be successfully applied as delivery platforms for increasing drug transport across barriers. It is therefore of paramount importance to characterize the impact of this class of NPs on barrier function as its impairment can seriously compromise normal physiology leading to disease. NanoBarriers primary goal is to provide missing critical information about the effects of M-NPs by clarifying the mechanisms underlying the cellular and molecular effects of M-NPs of industrial, biomedical and consumer interest (TiO2, SiO2, Ag and Au) on in vitro models of intestinal and placental barriers. The present project will investigate not only their toxicological potential but also the impact of low, non-cytotoxic and likely more realistic concentrations of the M-NPs on cell barrier physiology. A variety of toxicity endpoints will be evaluated such as cellular morphology, metabolism, mitochondrial function and immunotoxicity. An innovative approach to evaluate the impact of M-NPs on cell barrier physiology (transepithelial resistance, ion homeostasis and regulation of intracellular pH and cell volume) will be employed. The expression and activity of pivotal barrier transporters will be determined by combining molecular, fluorescence and electrophysiological techniques. This functional approach will give a quantitative insight whether this type of NPs can compromise the barrier function and interfere with ion transport across the cell. In silico studies will enable to correlate the M-NPs physicochemical characteristics with the toxicological and biological effects induced by them in each biological barrier. The studies will be to be developed by three partners with complementary expertise in the physicochemical, biological and computational domain.

 

1. Scientific Area: Health Sciences

 

2. Admission requirements: The candidate must have:

a) PhD in Biology, Biochemistry, Toxicology or in a closely related field;

b) Research experience in the field of Health Sciences, preferably in the safety assessment of manufactured nanomaterials;

c) Strong skills in cell culture techniques and in vitro toxicology (cell viability/proliferation/death, oxidative stress and genotoxicity assays);

d) Expertise in biochemistry and molecular biology (enzyme and transporter activities, western blot, flow cytometry);

e) Excellent track of publication in international peer-reviewed journals;

f) Excellent English communication skills.

 

Since the project involves electrophysiology and in silico analysis, preference will begiven to candidates with proven experience in these fields.

Initiative, critical thinking and autonomy in carrying out scientific work will be highly valued.

All national, foreign or stateless persons who hold a doctorate degree and a scientific and professional curriculum that reveals an appropriate profile to the activities above mentioned can apply to this call.

 

3. Activity Outline: We are looking for an autonomous researcher who will be responsible for specific tasks of the project using the techniques mentioned in the admission requirements, thereby contributing to the general project management. The researcher is also expected to lead the production of original work publishable in the form of full text papers in international journals and disseminate the project’s results in national and international conferences.

 

4. Workplace and supervision: Portuguese National Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo Jorge, under supervision of the project Principal Investigator Sónia Fraga. Address: Rua Alexandre Herculano 321, 4000-055, Porto, Portugal.

 

5. Applicable legislation: The hiring will be governed by the Decree-Law no. 57/2016, of 29 August, as emended by Law no. 57/2017, of July 19, which approves the doctorate hiring regime destined to stimulate scientific and technological employment for all knowledge areas (“RJEC”) and the Labour Code, approved by Law no. 7/2009, of 12th February, in its current wording.

 

6. Duration: Work contract with non-fixed term according to the Labour Code, with the expected starting date on January 2019.

 

7. Salary: The monthly salary is set in accordance with the provisions in RJEC, article 15, no. 1, corresponding to level 33 of the single salary scale approved by Portaria nº 1553-C/2008, de 31 de dezembro at 2,128.34 Euros gross. The salary is paid 14 months per year.

 

8. Selection criteria: Selection will be performed according to the Decree-Law no. 57/2016, of 29 August, as emended by Law no. 57/2017, of July 19. After evaluation by the jury, the candidates will be ranked based on their Curriculum Vitae (CV). The five best candidates in CV will be called for a face-to-face interview (I). The final classification will be obtained by the following formula: (0.9 x CV) + (0.1 x I), on a scale of 0 to 20 points.

The target factors for curricular evaluation are those indicated in the admission requirements stated above. Candidates must score a minimum of 10 points (half of the total score) to be selected.

 

Criteria for Curriculum Vitae evaluation (0 to 20 points):

a) Research experience in the field of Health Sciences, preferably in the safety assessment of manufactured nanomaterials: 0 to 4 points;

b) Strong skills in cell culture techniques and in vitro toxicology: 0 to 4 points;

c) Expertise in biochemistry and molecular biology: 0 to 4 points;

d) Track of publication in international peer-reviewed journals: 0 to 2 points;

e) English communication skills: 0 to 2 points;

f) Proven experience in electrophysiology and/or in silico analysis: 0 to 4 points.

 

Criteria for Interview evaluation (0 to 20 points):

a) Professional knowledge and skills to accomplish the work plan: 0 to 9 points;

b) Motivation towards the research project: 0 to 4 points;

c) Professional attitude: 0 to 4 points;

d) Communication skills: 0 to 3 points.

 

If the first candidate withdraws or does not accept the position, the second classified will be called, and so on. If none of the candidates proves to have the profile indicated for carrying out the work plan, the jury reserves the right not to award the position in competition.

 

9. Members of the Jury:

Sónia Fraga (PI, President)

João Paulo Teixeira (Co-PI)

Carla Costa (Member)

 

10. Non-discrimination and equal access policy: ISPUP actively promotes a non-discrimination and equal access policy, wherefore no candidate can be privileged, benefited, impaired or deprived of any rights whatsoever, or be exempt of any duties based on their ancestry, age, sex, sexual preference, marital status, family and economic conditions, instruction, origin or social conditions, genetic heritage, reduced work capacity, disability, chronic illness, nationality, ethnic origin or race, origin territory, language, religion, political or ideological convictions and union membership.

 

11. Documents Required: Application period will be open from 28th November to 16th December 2018. The applications must be send by e-mail to secretaria@ispup.up.pt (Cc: sonia.fraga@insa.min-saude.pt) and must include: i) Letter of motivation, in which the candidate must state the reasons to apply for this position and how his/her academic profile and experience fit the project; ii) Curriculum Vitae, with full name and contact information; iii) copy of the certificate(s) of the qualification(s) and iv) any documents that the candidates deem relevant to assess their merits.

Please highlight the following reference in the subject field of the application email: “Researcher Position_NanoBioBarriers_candidate first and last name”.

 

12. Notification of results: Candidates will be notified by e-mail and all relevant information will be published at the ISPUP website (http://www.ispup.up.pt).

Results List:

 

MINUTE OF THE FIRST MEETING OF THE SELECTION PANEL TO HIRE A POST-DOC RESEARCHER (WORK CONTRACT WITH NON-FIXED TERM) UNDER THE PROJECT NanoBioBarriers: Unravelling the mechanisms underlying the effects of metal-based nanoparticles on biological barriers - a contribution towards the implementation of the safe-by-design concept (AAC Nº 02/SAICT/2017 - PROJETO Nº 032194), FUNDED BY THE PORTUGUESE FOUNDATION FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (FCT/OE) (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-031162) AND BY OPERATIONAL PROGRAMME FOR COMPETITIVENESS AND INTERNATIONALISATION PROMOTED BY THE EUROPEAN REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND (FEDER/FNR).

 

On the 14th of November 2018, the selection panel composed by Sónia Fraga, João Paulo Teixeira and Carla Costa met at Instituto de Saúde Pública da Universidade do Porto to define the selection criteria for the position detailed above. The panel decided to establish two selection phases:

 

  1. Compliance with the admission requirements defined in the call for applications, namely:

a. Delivery of all the documents requested;

b. PhD in Biology, Biochemistry, Toxicology or in a closely related field;

c. Research experience in the field of Health Sciences, preferably in the safety assessment of manufactured nanomaterials;

d. Strong skills in cell culture techniques and in vitro toxicology;

e. Expertise in biochemistry and molecular biology;

f. Good track of publication in international peer-reviewed journals;

g. Fluency in English, written and spoken.

 

Inability to comply with the above mentioned requirements will be considered reason for exclusion of the candidates from the next selection phase.

 

Sorting of candidates who fulfilled the admission requirements set in the previous phase, on the basis of the following formula:

 

Final classification (FC) = [Curriculum Evaluation (CE) x 0.9] + [Interview (I) x 0.1]

 

Concerning the CE, the panel decided to assess the candidate’s professional experience and to grade it on a scale of 0 to 20 points distributed in the following way:

  • Research experience in the field of Health Sciences, preferably in the safety assessment of manufactured nanomaterials (0 to 4 points);
  • Strong skills in cell culture techniques and in vitro toxicology (0 to 4 points);
  • Expertise in biochemistry and molecular biology (0 to 4 points);
  • Track of publication in international peer-reviewed journals (0 to 2 points);
  • English communication skills (0 to 2 points);
  • Proven experience in electrophysiology and/or in silico analysis (0 to 4 points).

 

Concerning the interview (I), the panel decided that the classification to be awarded will result from the simple arithmetic mean of the classifications awarded by each member of the selection board, taking into account the qualities and aptitudes revealed by the candidates in the course of the interview, measured by the following weighting factors:

 

  • Professional knowledge and skills to accomplish the work plan (0 to 9 points);
  • Motivation towards the research project (0 to 4 points);
  • Communication skills (0 to 4 points);
  • Professional attitude (0 to 3 points).

The panel decided that only the candidates reaching 10 points (half of the total score) on the CE will be selected. The first five candidates WHO ranked half of the total score or more on the CE will be pre-selected for the interview.

 

Each member of the selection committee will rank the candidates; the final result will be the arithmetic mean of the classifications assigned individually by each member of the panel.

 

The candidate with the highest classification will be selected. If the first candidate withdraws or does not accept the position, the second classified will be called, and so on. If none of the candidates proves to have the profile indicated for carrying out the work plan, the jury reserves the right not to award the position in competition.

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