PhD Position in Intestinal Microbiota and Epithelial Barrier Function in Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Catholic University of Leuven

Two researchers with a complementary expertise lead this project. Professor Ricard Farré from the Mucosal permeability Lab studies the role of the epithelial barrier in pathophysiology of GI disorders. Professor Uwe Himmelreich from the Biomedical MRI Unit combines expertise in state-of-the-art small animal imaging to characterize pre-clinical disease models in terms of brain physiology, metabolism and function. Project The postdoctoral candidate will explore whether the presence of mucosal or systemic low-grade inflammation and an altered epithelial barrier function (increased intestinal permeability) influence the central nervous system in the context of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Additionally, the influence of gut microbiota (as a gut-to-brain signaling pathway) will be assessed in rats transferred with the gut microbiota collected from feaces of IBS patients. Brain function and neuro-inflammation will be assessed with noninvasive human imaging techniques (PET-fMRI) applied to rodents. Anxious and depressive behavior as well as visceral and somatic pain sensitivity will be assessed using different behavioral tests and techniques already available at the KUL and validated in rats. Moreover, the candidate will characterize structurally and functionally the colonic epithelium in patients with IBS and rodents.


  • to commit adequate time and effort to the project to acquire or improve the skills required (see above)
  • to be well organized and capable of setting deadlines for various phases of the research to display initiative (identifying and resolving problems) relating to the project
  • to work together with and supervise PhD and master students
  • to attend and present partial results at international conferences and publish them where appropriate under the guidance of their supervisors
  • to participate in seminars, professional and social life of the group


  • you hold a PhD in (bio-)medical, pharmaceutical, life sciences or related areas and thrive in a multidisciplinary research environment
  • you have experience working in intestinal and/or CNS research with animals or brain imaging or intestinal permeability assessment in rodents
  • you are ambitious, well organized and have excellent communication skills
  • you are verbally and written fluent in English and have the ability to work effectively and collaboratively
  • you are an enthusiastic, self-motivated individual, who is willing to take part in personal skills training, international travel and public outreach activities
  • you have demonstrated commitment to high-quality research


  • a position for 2 years (H2020 funding available, aiming to obtain additional funding is a surplus) that can be extended maximum 2 years more
  • a fascinating work environment and unique infrastructures for assessing intestinal epithelial barrier and brain function in rodents and humans


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Ricard Farré, tel.: +32 16 37 75 11, mail: or Prof. dr. Uwe Himmelreich, tel.: +32 16 33 09 25, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than August 31, 2020 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: August 31, 2020
  • Tags: Neurowetenschappen
  • Download: file

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Bioloxy


All Jobs


Harvard University Academic Positions

Kuwait University Current Faculty Openings

Osaka University Academic Opportunities

Purdue University Job Postings for Faculty Positions

Texas Tech University Faculty Openings

Tsinghua University Job Postings

University of Cambridge Job Openings

University of Geneva Faculty Opportunities

University of New South Wales Job Openings

University of Nottingham Research Positions

University of Oslo Academic Jobs

University of Saskatchewan Faculty Positions

University of Southampton Research Vacancies

University of Tokyo Current Academic Vacancies

University of Toronto Open Faculty Positions