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Up Directory CCL 24.03.08 2 post-doc positions (computational physical chemistry and biophysics) University of Genoa, Italy
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Date: Fri Mar 8 10:32:08 2024
Subject: 24.03.08 2 post-doc positions (computational physical chemistry and biophysics) University of Genoa, Italy

2 post-doc positions (computational physical chemistry and biophysics) available in the Nanobiocomp Group at the Physics Department of the University of Genoa, Italy.

1. Post-doc position Modeling extracellular vesicles and their fusion with target plasma or endosomal membranes

The Virtual Extracellular Vesicle (v-EV) project aims at providing the missing quantitative and methodological tools to construct a digital twin of EVs. These biological nanoparticles are increasingly emerging as inter-cellular, inter-species, and inter-kingdom communication agents in key physiological and pathological processes, including cancer metastasis, microbiota homeostasis, and viral infection. For this reason, EVs show promise in diverse applications as therapeutics, diagnostics, and nutrition. Currently, there is no clear connection between EVs static signatures (composition, structure) and mesoscale properties, such as mechanical properties, and function, such as fusogenicity. This knowledge gap is hindering the exploitation of EVs in nanomedicine. In particular, fusion of EVs with cell membranes is central to their function as delivery agents; while it is known that fusion can occur either at the plasma membrane or in the endosomal compartments ! in a cell type-dependent fashion, its microscopic mechanisms are still to be explored. For example, exosomes are stable against aggregation in the multivesicular bodies (MVB), but can be strongly fusogenic with their target endosomal membrane. The EV membrane components that either favor fusion or colloidal stability, as well as the influence of the EV membrane mechanical properties on such a delicate balance - to fuse or not to fuse are currently unknown. This impasse not only holds back the fundamental understanding of EVs but also their industrial potential, which is bound to costly and time-consuming trial and error approaches to develop new technologies. Thanks to a synergistic approach that combines multi-resolution simulations and advanced sampling methods, v-EV will develop an integrated digital twin that will enable researchers and industrial users to construct and simulate EVs with user-specific characteristics. The v-EV tool will make molecular details of indivi! dual EVs with tailored properties accessible to a detailed com! putational investigation, paving the way to computer-aided engineering of EVs.

The work will be led in close collaboration with A. Giacomello, University of Rome Sapienza, Italy, in the framework of the v-EV project funded by MUR (Italian Ministry for Academy and Research).

Requirements. Candidates should have a PhD in physics, chemistry, biology, material science or related areas. We will positively evaluate:

  • good programming skills (C++, python)
  • past experience with molecular simulation techniques (Molecular Dynamics, Monte Carlo) in the areas in the soft matter area
  • experience with enhanced sampling techniques
  • experience with the development of coarse-grained models for MD

When? The application procedure can be found at https://unige.it/en/concorsi/calls-research-grants and the deadline for applications is March 29th. The interview will take place (online) on April 8th, 2024. The contract will start May (negotiable) and will have a duration of 1+1 years, renewable for a 3rd year upon mutual agreement.

Contacts: Giulia Rossi, Physics Department, University of Genoa, IT giulia.rossi#%#fisica.unige.it. Requests for further information and expression of interests are welcome and can be sent via email to Prof. Giulia Rossi, with the subject line [post-doc 2024]. Please include a curriculum vitae and the name and email contact of 3 references.


2. Post-doc position Unveiling the interaction between lipid rafts and amyloid oligomers at the neuronal membrane

Project abstract. Alterations in the structure and dynamics of lipid rafts correlate with abnormal protein distribution and aggregation, distinctive hallmarks of widespread neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's.The aggregation pathway of small amyloid-beta peptide oligomers, possibly influenced by free lipids in solution, can determine the structure of the oligomers and the degree of physical damage they exert on the membrane. However, due to the enormous complexity of the biological environment and the lack of resolution of in-vivo experimental techniques, the investigation of the molecular mechanisms underlying the interplay between neuronal lipid rafts, free lipids in solution, and amyloid peptides is still far from conclusive results. The project aims to unveil the fundamental mechanisms by which neuronal lipid rafts and free lipids in solution drive the aggregation of amyloid peptides into small oligomers and, conversely, by which different oligomers can damage ! both healthy and diseased neuronal membranes. By answering fundamental questions at the interface between physics, biology, and chemistry, the outcomes of this project will improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying Alzheimer's disease and hopefully impact its treatment, suggesting new intervention routes.

The work will be led in close collaboration with V. Conti Nibali, University of Messina, Italy, in the framework of the NeuRaftAmyl project funded by MUR (Italian Ministry for Academy and Research).

Requirements. Candidates should have completed a PhD in physics, chemistry, biology, material science or related areas. We will positively evaluate:

  • good programming skills (C++, python)
  • past experience with molecular simulation techniques (Molecular Dynamics, Monte Carlo) in the areas of biophysics and soft matter
  • experience with enhanced sampling techniques
  • experience with the development of coarse-grained models for MD

When? The position will be formally open soon. The contract will have a duration of 1+1 years, renewable for a 3rd year upon mutual agreement.

Contacts. Requests of further information and expression of interests are welcome and can be sent via email to Dr. Davide Bochicchio, with the subject line [post-doc 2024]. Please include a curriculum vitae and the name and email contact of 3 references. Davide Bochicchio, Physics Department, University of Genoa, IT davide.bochicchio#%#fisica.unige.it



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