The PERICO research programme aims to uncover how a central metabolic organelle, the peroxisome, participates in controlling cellular metabolism. Metabolism and metabolic control are emerging as important frontiers in physiology. This is because, in our rapidly changing world, we face the effects of both metabolic extremes – from obesity on the one hand to malnutrition on the other. Learning how to control energy metabolism is therefore one of the most pressing challenges of the 21stcentury.

Peroxisomes are key metabolic organelles, which must communicate and interact extensively with their environment to exchange metabolites and coordinate cellular responses. Membrane contact sites (MCS), where membranes of two organelles are physically tethered to enable rapid transfer of small molecules, enable organelle communication and are crucial for coordination of cellular functions and hence human health. Research on organelle interactions and communication is a challenging, upcoming field in current cell biology.

PERICO will exploit recent developments in high-throughput and genome-wide screening technologies, combine these with modern molecular cell biology and systems biology and ultimately translate the data into new leads for drug discovery and therapy.

Early Stage Researchers

The training schemes include specific research projects, secondments to partner organizations, a wide range of dedicated courses, and workshops organized by the academic and industrial partners of the Network. The scientific training programme will be complemented with training in managerial soft skills.

The positions for Early Stage Researchers are available for candidates with a research experience ≤ 4 years (counted from the diploma that gives the rights to embark in a doctoral degree).

Candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to recruitment (short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account).


Candidates should have:

  • exceptional academic performance, including qualifications, prizes
  • subject specific skills and expertise (see project descriptions)
  • communication, presentation skills and team working abilities
  • competence in written and spoken English.

Length of appointment: 3 years
Type of contract: temporary

Starting date: August 1, 2019

More information on the project

Descriptions of the individual PhD project

Reference: ESR9-DE

A PhD position is available at the University of Freiburg, Department of Biochemistry & Functional Proteomics, Freiburg, Germany
Project title: High-resolution proteomics of peroxisome-centred membrane contact site (MCS) and transporters

  • Definition of the peroxisomal membrane proteome of yeast, human/mammalian cells, and trypanosomes using high-resolution quantitative mass spectrometry (MS) to identify putative new transporters.
  • Screen for novel membrane contact site (MCS) proteins in yeast using artificial protein tethers, quantitative MS, and computational data analysis.
  • Interactomics and proximity proteomic studies of key proteins forming MCS in different organisms and/or under different growth conditions.
  • Global loss-of-function studies of peroxisome-deficient yeast cells and cells with non-functional MCS and transporters and analysis of the cellular response to the lack of peroxisomes and impaired MCS/transporters by quantitative MS-based proteome studies.
  • Computation of an MCS interaction and cellular response network integrating the results obtained and published data (icw LG).
  • Computational integration of proteomics, lipidomics and metabolomics data from peroxisome-deficient cells and cells with non-functional MCS/transporters (icw LG).

Location: Freiburg, Germany
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. B. Warscheid (
Co-supervisors: Prof. Dr. V. Martins dos Santos, Lifeglimmer GmbH & Prof. Dr. M. Schuldiner, Weizmann Institute of Science
Planned secondments: University of Groningen, Weizmann Institute of Science. Lifeglimmer GmbH
Required subject specific skills and expertise: a master’s degree in biology, biochemistry or a related discipline. Experience in proteomics/mass spectrometry and a strong interest in bioinformatics are advantageous but not mandatory.
Application deadline: 15/05/2019
Starting date:  August 1, 2019

Application form ESR9

Traineeship / in company Early Stage Researcher (m/f) for Lambert Instruments

Reference ESR5-NL

We are seeking for an early stage researcher (ESR) in Artificial Intelligence in an EU funded, initial training network. The position is in the company Lambert Instruments, an SME that develops cameras and software for highly advanced light microscopy studies.

As an ESR you will contribute to the development of a groundbreaking, fully automated microscopy setup that can be used in various disciplines in Life Sciences (Basic research, Medicine, Biotechnology, Agriculture, etc.). You will apply deep-learning to develop a fully automated processing workflow to detect subtle changes in biological samples. The research involves improvement of an advanced fluorescence microscopy protocol for speed and accuracy, optimization of modulation and illumination parameters and the development of noise reduction algorithms. By using active feedback loops for real-time measurement adjustment, the harvest of target patterns will be optimized using reinforcement learning or other control algorithms for digital microscopes. The outcomes of this study will aid to the design of new strategies aimed to improve outcomes for patients suffering from various diseases, ranging from rare genetic disorders to more common age-related disorders (e.g., diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, and cancer).

As a participant in this highly prestigious research and training programme you will work in multidisciplinary teams and receive frequent training weeks abroad hosted by one of the 11 universities and 3 companies that are part of the Perioco project. Inclusion in a PHD programme at the RUG is encouraged.

Location: Groningen, The Netherlands

Application deadline: 15/05/2019
Starting date:  August 1, 2019

Application form ESR5

Reference: ESR11-BE

A PhD position is available at KU Leuven, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Leuven, Belgium
Project title: Peroxisomal redox metabolism in health and disease

  • To identify proteins that have the capacity to channel H2Oacross the peroxisomal membrane using CRISPR-based approaches in combination with a cell line in which the production of peroxisomal H2Ocan be carefully controlled;
  • To study the role of the identified H2Otransporters in signalling pathways and cellular responses to H2O2-induced oxidative insults;
  • To unveil the role of peroxisome membrane contact site (MCS) in interorganellar redox communication (use of synthetic tethers and cell lines in which MCS proteins that will be identified in WP1 are inactivated by CRISPRn);
  • To assess how altered expressions of known and newly-identified peroxisomal transporters modulate redox state in different cell compartments.

Location: Leuven, Belgium
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. M. Fransen (
Co-supervisors: Prof. Dr. E. Gnaiger, Oroboros Instruments GmbH & Prof. dr. H. R. Waterham, Academic Medical Centre at the University of Amsterdam
Planned secondments: The Hospital for Sick Children, Academic Medical Centre at the University of Amsterdam, Oroboros Instruments GmbH
Required subject specific skills and expertise: a master’s degree in life sciences (e.g., biomedical sciences, molecular cell biology, biochemistry, or biophysics). Experience in mammalian cell culture and fluorescence microscopy is advantageous but not mandatory.
Application deadline: 15/06/2019
Starting date:  September 1, 2019

Application form ESR11

The previous deadline for applications has been extended until October 28.

Please note: Applications that have already been submitted are well received and under consideration. No further action is required on behalf of applicants who applied before the previous deadline

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