Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

PhD student – Early Stage Researcher: Investigating the role of osteocyte and mechanotransduction on bone fragility in type 2 diabetes

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    University of Geneva (UNIGE)
    Biological sciencesBiology
    Biological sciencesOther
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    20/10/2019 21:00 - Europe/London
    Switzerland › Geneva
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

The EU-funded Innovative Training Network FIDELIO (https://www.fidelio-project.eu) aims to
train the next generation of scientists in order to tackle the challenges of diabetic bone
disease from various angles and with the newest technologies available. Interdisciplinary
training and implementation of innovative approaches are key. Within this consortium, we will
comprehensively unravel the genetic and environmental mechanisms that contribute to bone
fragility in diabetes, identify predictors and clinical markers for patient stratification, decipher
the underlying molecular mechanisms of bone fragility in diabetes, and establish potential
interventions through a personalised medicine approach.
The research programme will address different aspects of diabetic bone disease from the
viewpoints of epidemiology, genetics, miRNAs, microbiome, bone biology, bone
biomechanics and microstructure, preclinical and clinical research. It will utilise advanced
imaging and computational approaches, diabetes mouse models and access to clinical
cohorts and registry data to obtain a comprehensive overview of how these mechanisms
combine in diabetes to cause increased fracture risk.
With this interdisciplinary approach, we can explore the impact of biological pathways in
mouse models and/or humans, and interactions with diet, exercise and other exposures.
Collaborations with industry will allow early identification of IP, access to state of the art
technologies, and will complement the academic ESR training programme with
entrepreneurship and industrial mentoring.
Your PhD project:
You will investigate in vitro whether hyperglycemia in osteocyte cell lines (MLOY4, IDG-SW3
and Ocy454) affect mitochondrial activity, autophagy, apoptosis and signaling pathway
involved in mechanotransduction (PPARƳ, Postn, Sost…). In vivo you will characterizes
whether Pparγ inhibition in osteocyte, periostin recombinant, and sclerostin-antibody affect
autophagy and bone mechanical response in a model of high fat diet & Db/Db mice. The
mouse model will be characterized in terms of bone and glucose homeostasis. Two-exercise
model will be used treadmill and axial compression of long bone. The student will receive a
profound training in cell and molecular biology (culture of cell lines and primary cells,
transfections for siRNA/plasmids, WB, real-time PCR, immunofluorescence,
viability/apoptosis assays, ELISAs, etc.), animal experimentation, comprehensive bone
phenotyping (µCT, mineralization, serum analysis of bone turnover markers, biomechanical
testing of bones, histomorphometry) and glucose homeostasis (Euglycemic hyperinsulinmic
clamp, GTT, ITT, PET/CT, histology).
Finally, in collaboration with the clinical service periostin and sclerostin new markers of bone
quality and fragility will be test in relation to glucose homeostasis in the Geneva Retirees
You will embark on secondments to other FIDELIO partners (SDU (DK), UKE (DE)) to access
experimental models or tools or receive training not available in the home laboratory. This will
include comparing the similarity and difference between our in vitro model and the
bioenergetics of human osteoblasts from T2DM, collagen orientation, spatial measurement of
non-enzymatic cross-link ratio, and calculation of bone formation/resorption through microCT
imaging. Total secondment time is 3 to 6 months.
Further qualifications will be obtained through the collaboration with X. Edward Guo and N
Vilayphiou (Scanco) regarding bone response to loading and imagery technics.


· You will be working within our international group of > 30 researchers with experience
in a broad range of sciences
· You will get in contact with the other members of this international consortium and will
benefit from the joint training platform to develop skills necessary for developing a
thorough understanding of the mechanisms of Diabetes and the bone metabolism
and for obtaining industry skills.
· You will be employed by the host organization for 36 months.
· A competitive salary plus allowances. Moreover, funding is available for technical and
personal skills training and participation in international research events.
· You will benefit from the designed training program offered by the host organization and
the consortium.
· You will participate in international conferences and secondments to other organizations
within the FIDELIO network and in outreach activities targeted at a wide audience
Please find additional information in the Information package for Marie Curie fellows

Selection process

Planned key dates:
25 November 2019: Recruitment event in Rome, Italy

Offer Requirements

    ENGLISH: Excellent

Specific Requirements

· Applicants must hold a MSc or equivalent in the field of biology, physiology or a related discipline
· Applicants must have a solid knowledge of cell and molecular biology as well as histology. Experience with animal experimentation is desired. Willingness to work with animals is a prerequisite
· Applicants can be of any nationality
· Applicants must have an ability to understand and express themselves in both written and spoken English to a level that is sufficiently high for them to derive the full benefit from the network training
· Applicants must be eligible to enroll on a PhD program at the host institution (or a designated university in case the host institution is a non-academic organization) 
In addition:
H2020 MSCA Mobility Rule: researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the host organization (Switzerland) for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national  service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status are not taken into account.
Eligible researchers must not have spent more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the date of selection in the same appointing international organisation.
H2020 MSCA eligibility criteria: Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) must, at the date of recruitment by the host organization, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. Full-Time Equivalent Research Experience is measured from the date when the researcher obtained the degree entitling him/her to embark on a doctorate (either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited, even if a
doctorate was never started or envisaged).

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
University of Geneva (UNIGE)

EURAXESS offer ID: 447772


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