Postdoc Position in Visceral Pain and Neuro-Immune Interaction
Catholic University of Leuven Translational Research Center for Gastrointestinal Disorders

The Laboratory of Intestinal Neuro-Immune Interaction, part of the Translational Research Center for Gastrointestinal Disorders (TARGID) of KU Leuven, offers a postdoc position for a scientist with expertise in neuroscience / neuro-immune interaction. TARGID aims to provide insight in physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms in order to identify new targets ultimately leading to better therapies for gastrointestinal disorders such as functional and inflammatory bowel diseases. To this end, pre-clinical and clinical expertise is combined with state of the art technology to provide top quality research and to create a stimulating setting for bidirectional interaction between basic and clinical researchers. This approach allows fast translation of discoveries from bench to bedside with improvement of patient care as ultimate goal. TARGID is an internationally recognized research center that also aspires to provide multidisciplinary education in a challenging and exciting scientific environment. TARGID is part of diverse national and international networks allowing exchange of expertise further contributing to excellent education of young and talented researchers. Our research group focuses on the neuro-immune interaction in the gastrointestinal tract in health and disease. In particular, we obtained evidence for abnormal function of submucosal neurons in biopsies of patients with abdominal pain, and of dorsal root ganglia of hypersensitive mice, associated with sensitization of nociceptors like TRPV1, TRPV4 and TRPA1. We showed that mast cells and their mediators are responsible for TRP channel sensitisation both in humans and in a preclinical murine model. Recently, we discovered that an aberrant immune response, triggered by a gastrointestinal infection, leads to the local production of IgE antibodies against food antigens with sensitisation of mast cells and subsequent activation upon re-exposure to the respective dietary antigens (Aguilera-Lizarraga et al., Nature 2021). In the present project, we will further explore the mechanisms underlying visceral pain with the ultimate aim to identify novel targets for treatment. As part of a clinical gastroenterological unit, a close interaction with clinicians guarantees access to patient material and fast translation of new findings to the clinic.


  • You will be responsible to design study protocols and perform experiments 
  • You will be supervising PhD students involved in the project
  • You will collaborate with other members of the research group
  • You will be responsible for reporting and publishing the obtained results


  • You have a PhD in neurophysiology / neuro-immune interaction
  • You have expertise in isolation / culture / functional assessment of neurons
  • You are willing to supervise students
  • You have experience writing research papers
  • You are willing to apply for a postdoctoral fellowship of the Flemish government (FWO) 


  • We offer you a post-doc position for one year, with the opportunity for renewal until 3-5 years. You are stimulated to apply for a postdoctoral fellowship of FWO (see above).


Full applications including curriculum vitae, list of publications and 2 references should be sent to Prof.dr. G. Boeckxstaens ( 

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Guy Boeckxstaens, tel.: +32 16 33 02 37, mail:
You can apply for this job no later than October 15, 2021 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: October 15, 2021
  • Tags: Microbiologie en Immunologie

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