/Postdoc Researcher: Spatial omics using ultra-high-resolution electrically synthesized DNA arrays

Postdoc Researcher: Spatial omics using ultra-high-resolution electrically synthesized DNA arrays

Research & development - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Combining CMOS scaling and advanced nucleic acid synthesis technologies into a platform for leading-edge spatial omics analyses

Postdoc Researcher: Spatial omics using ultra-high-resolution electrically synthesized DNA arrays

What you will do

Current cancer therapies often fail because the genetic and cellular architecture of tumors is largely unique within each patient, requiring personalized diagnostics and treatments that are unavailable today. Pathological assessment of cancerous tissue sections is particularly challenging, making the interpretation of resulting data and the corresponding diagnostic decision to some extent subjective. Recent advances in spatial transcriptomics have however made it possible to combine morphological data with full transcription profiles, resulting in an objective method to understand the behavior of cancer cells in their distinctive micro-environment. Pushing the spatial resolution of transcriptomics down to subcellular level and increasing the analytical sensitivity will undoubtedly generate more accurate, specific and quantitative pathological data, enabling detailed patient stratification, prognosis and therapy. Such method will in addition open up other biomedical and biological applications to study cellular architectures of organs, as well as how cells interact and communicate to establish functional cell niches within organs in health, and how these processes are perturbed in disease, in general. 

In this postdoc project, we want to leverage both CMOS scaling and the recent boost in nucleic acid synthesis technologies. Ultra-high-density electrode arrays with feature sizes well below 2 µm can be readily fabricated using standard CMOS processes. This allows to develop novel methods to synthesize DNA sequences on each miniaturized electrode on demand. We use electrochemically triggered DNA synthesis, with the emphasis of maintaining lateral resolution and accurate synthesis quality control to ensure suitable sequence lengths. The aim of the project is to generate information on the tissue-specific expression of genes at a resolution that was unattainable before. This will support many high-end biological applications and will ultimately allow digitizing pathology to revolutionize the use of tissue sections for in-vitro diagnostics. 

What we do for you

We offer you the opportunity to join one of the world’s premier research centers in nanotechnology at its headquarters in Leuven, Belgium. With your talent, passion and expertise, you’ll become part of a team that makes the impossible possible. Together, we shape the technology that will determine the society of tomorrow.

We are committed to being an inclusive employer and proud of our open, multicultural, and informal working environment with ample possibilities to take initiative and show responsibility. We commit to supporting and guiding you in this process; not only with words but also with tangible actions. Through imec.academy, 'our corporate university', we actively invest in your development to further your technical and personal growth. 

We are aware that your valuable contribution makes imec a top player in its field. Your energy and commitment are therefore appreciated by means of a competitive salary with many fringe benefits. 

Who you are

  • Required background: physics, electrical engineering, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering 
  • Type of work:
    • literature study: 10%
    • modelling and data analysis: 40%
    • setup construction and device measurements: 50% 
  • Promotor: Liesbet Lagae (imec) 
  • Co-promotor: Thierry Voet and Katy Vandereyken (KU Leuven) 
  • Daily advisor: Maarten Fauvart
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