Two 3-years Marie Curie PhD student positions will be available at the Center for Synaptic Neuroscience and Technology at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) within the ITN European Network ENTRAIN VISION (Grant Agreement 861423).
Blindness is the most feared handicap leading to the greatest exclusion from society by reducing patient autonomy and mobility. Clinical trials have demonstrated the possibility to regain some useful vision with retinal prostheses in patients having lost photoreceptors. New approaches are entering into clinical trials such as photovoltaic implants, optogenetic therapy and even cortical prostheses for patients having lost eye to brain connection. In the ENTRAIN VISION project, the Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) will work on these innovative technologies for restoring vision in blind patients. Their training in academic institutes or industry will be completed by several secondments, including at least one at an industry partner. In addition, several summer schools will address scientific subjects on vision restoration and transferable skills in technology transfer, clinical trials, start-up creation, and communication to the media.
Development of membrane-targeted azobenzene-based compounds for vision restoration.
The project includes the development and characterization of new potent and persistent photoswitches, their validation in neurons and retinal explants and their application to in vivo animal models of retinal diseases.
(ii) Development and testing of organic nanoparticle-based light actuators for retinal applications.
The project includes the engineering of photosensitive polymeric nanoparticles for high-resolution and minimally invasive retinal prosthetic devices, demonstration of their safety and efficacy in neurons and retinal explants, surface functionalization and application to in vivo animal models of retinal diseases.
Both programs will include the elucidation of the basic mechanisms of light-induced neuronal activation, and the electrophysiological analysis of the processing of visual information from the retina to the visual cortex.
More details regarding the research projects can be obtained at:
and in the text of the calls available at the websites reported below.
Requirements. The ideal candidate is a highly motivated student with MSc degree (or equivalent) in Medicine, Neuroscience, Biology, Biotechnology, Physics, Bioengineering or similar. The successful candidates should have been trained in the field of Neuroscience, Neurophysiology or similar subjects and have some previous experience in cellular electrophysiology. Experience in immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy and image analysis and in in-vivo recordings will be also appreciated. Good communication skills in English (both written and spoken) are mandatory.
Eligibility criteria. Candidates must be in the first four years of their research career and not holding a PhD. They must not have resided in the country of their host organization more than 12 months in the 3 years prior to their recruitment.
Benefits. ITNs are financially supported by the European Commission under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) because they provide excellent research, training and career aspects. The benefits of being a PhD student in an ITN network include: (i) the chance to participate in specially developed courses (e.g. on specific techniques, academic soft skills) building your personal professional network at a very early stage of career due to the embedding of the PhD projects in an academic/industrial network; (ii) exposure to industry, as all ESR will be either hosted or seconded to a private sector partner; (iii) the opportunity to spend some time in the labs of other partners (and get familiar with other disciplines, techniques, cultures etc.), as the research projects are strictly interdisciplinary; (iv) being advised by excellent group leaders – they are all outstanding in their research and training. The ITN programme offers a highly competitive and attractive salary and working conditions. The successful candidates will receive a salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for early stage researchers. The salary includes a generous living allowance, a mobility allowance and a family allowance (depending on family situation).The exact (net) salary will be confirmed upon offer and will be based on local tax regulations and on the country correction factor (to allow for the difference in cost of living in different EU Member States). The ESR will be contractually employed for 36 months by their host institution and will be covered under the social security scheme of the enrolling country.
How to apply. The official text of the call is available at www.entrain-vision.eu and on Euraxess website (https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/518338). The recruitment guidelines and the detailed programs can be found at
- Please, include in your application the reference to ESR 13 and/or ESR 14;
- The application deadline is MAY 29, 2020;
- The ESR starting date is NOVEMBER 1, 2020;
-The candidates should send the formal application to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating “Entrain Vision ESR13/ESR14” in the subject.
Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), with its headquarters in Genova, Italy, is a non-profit institution with the primary goal of creating and disseminating scientific knowledge and strengthening Italy’s technological competitiveness. The institute offers state-of-the-art equipment and a top-level interdisciplinary research environment focused on robotics and computer vision, neuroscience, drug discovery, nanoscience and technology.
Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia is an Equal Opportunity Employer that actively seeks diversity in the workforce.
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