Development of peptide ligands to sphingolipids or regulators of sphingolipid homeostasis and their application as research tools


Project description
This project aims at the development of affinity reagents to various sphingolipids and protein mediators of sphingolipid homeostasis and their application as probes or inhibitors in collaboration with partners of SPHINGONET. The affinity reagents will be based on bicyclic peptide structures that are relatively small (around 2 kDa) and hence should not bias the molecules to be analyzed (e.g. ceramides) but at the same time provide a sufficiently large interaction surface to yield specific and tight binders. The bicyclic peptides will be generated with a combinatorial approach based on phage display.

Further reading
Heinis, C. et al., 2009, Nat. Chem. Biol. 5(7), 502-507
Heinis, C., 2011, Chimia, 65(9), 677-679

Host institute
EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland
Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering (ISIC)
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Christian Heinis
Phone: +41 (0)21 693 9350

EPFL is one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology and is located in Lausanne on the shores of Lake Geneva. The chemical faculty of EPFL (Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, ISIC) with more than 30 research groups has a strong track record in basic and applied research. The laboratory of Christian Heinis belongs to the ISIC and consists currently of 6 PhD students and 3 post-docs. The group has a longstanding experience in protein and peptide engineering and its main research focus is the development of therapeutics based on bicyclic peptides. The laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure and has in-house access to modern mass and NMR spectrometers, fluorescence microscopes as well as on-campus access to protein expression, microscopy, imaging, and animal testing facilities.

•  We are looking for an ambitious and interactive individual with MSc degree in chemistry, molecular biology or chemical biology. A solid background in molecular biology is an advantage. Prior experience with phage display is an asset.
•  The candidate will be part of a multidisciplinary team of chemists, molecular biologists and biochemists. Good communication skills are essential.
•  Proactive participation in SPHINGONET’s research & training program is expected through presentations and critical thinking at internal scientific forums, requiring excellent English presentation and writing skills. The ability to work in a team is a must.
•  Candidates must fulfill the eligibility criteria for Marie Curie Initial Training Networks (FP7).
•  Candidates should submit the complete application package.
•  Suitable candidates will be invited for an interview by the supervisor of the project.

•  PhD student for 3 years.
•  Full-time.