We hypothesize the presence of a restricted number of macrophage niches per organ (Guilliams & Scott, Nature Reviews Immunology 2017). Our recent work reveals that each Kupffer cell crosses the endothelial barrier to be in close contact with stellate cells and hepatocytes (Bonnardel, Immunity - in press). Thus, the stellate cell, endothelial cell and hepatocyte compose the Kupffer cell niche. This finding incites a modular view to liver organogenesis where each module is composed of a Kupffer cell, a stellate cell, an endothelial cell and a hepatocyte.
We are particularly interested in: (i) identifying the transcription factors that imprint the liver-specific identities in each of the liver module partners, (ii) identifying the cell-cell circuits within the liver module and (iii) unraveling the role of each module partner in the maintenance of liver homeostasis and (iv) understanding what cell-cell circuits instruct liver regeneration and the formation of novel liver modules.
To address these questions we combine unique in vivo transgenic mouse model, access to clinical human liver samples, cutting-edge single-cell technologies and state-of-the-art in silico approaches. We are partners of the Immgen Consortium (www.immgen.org) and of the Human Cell Atlas Consortium (www.humancellatlas.org).
Our postdoc project:
We would like to understand the cell-cell interactions within the liver module (Kupffer cells, Endothelial cells, Stellate cells and Hepatocytes). How do these cells talk to one another? What cell-cell circuits are present in the healthy liver? Which receptors are involved and what transcription factors do these receptors induce? What functional gene modules are these transcription factors controlling? What is the homeostatic function of these cells within the liver module? Can we use the knowledge of homeostatic cell-cell circuits to boost tissue regeneration?
The Profile we are looking for:
We are seeking highly motivated and dynamic individuals with a strong passion for macrophages and a formidable team-spirit. Previous experience in immunology, developmental biology, cellular biology, hepatology, organogenesis, single-cell technologies and/or epigenetics are strongly recommended.
• PhD in immunology
• Confocal Microscopy, Flow Cytometry, Genomics skills
• Experience with mouse models
• Strong interest in bio-informatics
• A fantastic team with a strong can-do-attitude
• A small and modular team where each scientist has a personal project and their own identity
• Multiple transgenic tools to knock-down genes of interest within the liver tissue module (Kupffer cells, Endothelial cells, Stellate cells and Hepatocytes)
• Access to a state-of-the-art Flow Cytometry and Microscopy Core Facilities.
• Novel transcription factor tools that push the limits of what can be done with primary cells
• Single-cell transcriptomics and CITE-seq technology with panels of 200 antibodies for human and mouse surface markers
• A team with our own very talented bio-IT technicians
• Access to clinical human liver samples
• A strong network of collaborators, including members of the Immgen Consortium and the Human Cell Atlas Consortium.
Candidates can apply via this link:
Professor, Ghent University - Faculty of Science
Principal Investigator - VIB Center for Inflammation Research (IRC)
Technologiepark 71, B-9052 Ghent, Belgium