Job ID: 100731

PhD student for Alzheimer research

Position: Ph.D. Student

Deadline: 28 February 2023

Contract Length: 4 years

City: Leuven

Country: Belgium

Institution: KU Leuven

Department: Imaging and Pathology


The Laboratory of Neuropathology, focusing on the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders, is an established laboratory in the Department of Imaging and Pathology at KU Leuven since 2015. The laboratory of Neuropathology is currently a group of nine researchers which is embedded in the Translational Cell & Tissue Research unit. This research group has close collaborations with the Neurology and Pathology Departments of the University Hospitals Leuven and the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research (CBD). For studying Alzheimer’s disease, we are starting a new project predominantly supported by the Alzheimer Association that is embedded in an infrastructure of two other Alzheimer’s disease focussed projects and two projects focussing on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Funding for the PhD student position is available for the next 4 years.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorder that leads to cognitive impairment and dementia. Despite minor progress in the treatment options, the current strategies do not allow to halt disease progression. One reason for the suboptimal outcome of clinical trials may be based on the fact that in AD, co-pathologies are thought to play a major role, impacting the generalized therapeutic options. One very frequent co-pathology in AD is the accumulation of TDP-43 protein aggregates in the neuronal cytoplasm. Accordingly, one can distinguish AD cases with and without TDP-43 co-pathology.

In this project, we aim at characterizing the molecular differences between AD cases with and without TDP-43 pathology, specifically to determine proteome as well as genetic profiles for these cases.

This might help distinguishing between these two subgroups in future clinical trials, i.e. to allow a better understanding of AD subtype-specific effects on tested drugs.


Project tasks:

·        Biochemical analysis of human brain tissue (mass spectrometry, western blotting, immunoprecipitation, ELISA, etc.)

·        Immunohistochemical analyses of human brain tissue, including quantitative analyses of protein targets identified by mass-spectrometry.

·        Statistical analysis (including analysis of large mass spectrometry data and genotype datasets)



• You will do immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence stainings and analysis of human brain samples, as well as biochemical analysis of human brain samples.

• You will perform statistical analysis including large datasets

• You will supervise lab rotation students and master students.

• You will report your data to your supervisors, other researchers, as well at (international) conferences.



What we are looking for:

• You have a master’s degree according to EU standards

• You meet the English language criteria of KU Leuven

• You are willing to work with post-mortem tissue

• Highly motivated, enthusiastic, critical, and creative

• You should have some experience in the following techniques:

-Immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence


-Sample preparation for biochemical analysis


-Western blot analysis

-Experience in mass spectrometry and large data statistical analysiswould be a plus

-Experience in use of statistical programs: SPSS, R studio, etc.

• You should speak and write fluentEnglish and should be able to work in a team with a high degree ofautonomy

Our Offer

·        A full time 4-year contract for a PhD student position. However, the candidate will be encouraged to apply for personal funding.

·        You will be working on the latest advancements in AD research, in a leading research team with a widespread network of international and local collaborators, and in an excellent international research environment at KU Leuven.

·        Participation in an individually shaped PhD Program with different opportunities to present and share data on weekly seminars, lectures and international conferences.

·        Access to different state-of-the-art core facilities of KU Leuven.


Start date: between March, 1st 2023 and August 1st 2023

Please apply via the application tool from KU-Leuven (link KU-Leuven website below)