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Early stage researcher PhD positions for cartilage regeneration in joints and intervertebral disc diseases – Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

Early stage researcher PhD positions for cartilage regeneration in joints and intervertebral disc diseases – Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

Early stage researcher PhD positions for cartilage regeneration in joints and intervertebral disc diseases – Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

, Haifa, ISRAEL

Prof. Marcelle Machluf

Job available per:

Not specified

Annual Gross Salary:

Not specified


An ideal ESR PhD candidate will have an excellent track record from their previous studies along with experience and expertise in one or more fields of bioengineering such as biotechnology engineering, materials science (with focus on biomaterials), biomedical or biochemical engineering. The candidate should also possess theoretical and preferably practical knowledge on the principles of immunobiology, pharmacology, physical chemistry and/or drug delivery. The candidate should have hands-on experience in mammalian tissue culture techniques, nano-particles’ characterization methods (DLS, Cryo-TEM, SEM etc.), and protocols for assessing bioactivity (PK-PD and toxicity studies, flow-cytometry, histology, PCR etc.). The candidate must be enthusiastic and excited about his research with excellent written and oral communication skills. Machluf’s lab is a multidisciplinary research environment focusing on different biotechnological applications including regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, cell-based therapies, drug-delivery and controlled release, and gene therapy ( Joining this group offers the candidate the unique opportunity to gain knowledge and hands-on experience and expertise in vast applications that are in the forefront of biomedical research and development.

There are strict eligibility requirements for the ESR PhD positions in MSCA-ITN. Please ensure that you qualify before applying, as ineligible candidates cannot be considered.
• Applicants should not have resided or performed their main activity (work, studies, etc) in the country of the host institution for more than 12 months in the 3 year period immediately prior to the start date of the PhD research.
• Applicants for the ESR PhD positions should be in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctorate. This 4 year period is measured from the date of obtaining the degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.

MSCA-ITN offers an attractive salary and working conditions. An unique feature of MSCA-ITN is that during the PhD research, ESR PhD students will be given the opportunity to perform at least two secondments of about 3 months each at the facilities of other consortium members. ESR PhD students will benefit from a dedicated training program in the various fields of expertise of the consortium partners. Salary is complemented with a mobility allowance.

Job Description:

TargetCaRe is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (MSCA-ITN) on targeting cartilage regeneration in joints and intervertebral disc diseases in the Horzion2020 programme of the European Union. In total, 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) will be appointed by the TargetCaRe consortium for 36 months each.

Mobility is very important for human well-being, but is seriously impaired by chronic low back pain and osteoarthritis in many people worldwide. This is due to degeneration of the cartilaginous tissue of the intervertebral disc and joint. To develop a treatment for these diseases, in the TargetCaRe consortium novel highly advanced drug delivery carriers with dedicated targeting tools, state of the art imaging techniques and expertise in stem cell and joint biology are combined.


Ample clinical trials have shown that allogeneically transplanted mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are well tolerated and accumulated in various degenerative tissues and inflammation sites. Regardless of any specific effect these cells may exert on their target sites, recent studies suggest that surface-associated factors govern MSCs’ targeting capabilities through direct interactions with other cells (endothelial, epithelial or immune cells) or the extracellular matrix (ECM). Relying on MSC natural membrane-associated targeting capabilities, our group developed nano-carriers (termed nanoghosts or NG) made from the cytoplasmatic membranes of MSC ghosts (i.e., cells evacuated of their content) that can be loaded and used for selective delivery of different bioactive compounds to various pathologies, including sites of cartilage degeneration. The ESR student will be required to produce such NGs, investigate their inherent targeting capabilities using cartilage models, and determine the NGs’ biodistribution at the organ, cellular and sub-cellular levels. Moreover, the student will address the possibility to enhance or tailor the NGs targeting capabilities by increasing or changing MSC tropism (prior to NG production) through exposure to soluble inflammatory factors or genetically engineering the cells to express additional targeting molecules. The student will continue by loading the NGs with different drugs and exploring their efficacy vis-à-vis the free drugs. Finally, the student will be asked to investigate the immunomodulatory capabilities of the NGs’ per se (i.e., without any drug), which were shown to retain surface factors that contribute to MSCs’ immune evasiveness.

Nr of positions available : 2

Research Fields

Chemistry – Biochemistry

Career Stage

Early stage researcher or 0-4 yrs (Post graduate)

Research Profiles

First Stage Researcher (R1)


To apply for this position, send your CV and motivation letter to Please state the vacancy reference (Targetcare ESR 4) in the subject line. After eligibility screening, your application will be forwarded to prof. Marcelle Machluf for further evaluation.

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