PhD Deciphering human norovirus cell tropism and pathogenesis using zebrafish

Leuven (Belgium)
Student / Recent Graduate
KU Leuven – startersjobs & PhD
Sciences, Engineering & R&D

The Job

The Portolab is a dedicated team of enthusiastic researchers specialized in complex and innovative virus infection models to study the pathogenesis of RNA viruses and develop novel therapeutic options. Our research uses primarily zebrafish larvae which are small, fast-developing and optically transparent vertebrate and stem-cell derived organoids which are non-transformed human 3D self-organizing mini-organs that recapitulate normal organ physiology. We study a variety of human viruses causing gastrointestinal infections (e.g. human norovirus, rotavirus), respiratory (co-)infections (e.g. influenza, SARS-CoV-2, Aspergillus) and viral hemorrhagic fever (e.g. Rift Valley fever virus and other bunyaviruses). The lab is located at the Rega Institute (Campus Gasthuisberg) in Leuven, Belgium. We are affiliated with the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Transplantation of the KU Leuven. To know more, please visit We are committed to create and nurture a diverse, warm and international working environment, where all talents can blossom and scientific excellence is reached. We are seeking a PhD student to join our team working in an exciting project funded by the FWO (Research Foundation - Flanders). The main goal of the project is to decipher human norovirus cell tropism and pathogenesis using zebrafish. To that end, a combination of immunostaining's, flow cytometry and single-cell RNA sequencing will be used. To aid in this investigation, the lab has an ample collection of transgenic zebrafish lines with fluorescent cell types or gene knockouts. In addition, the identity and mechanism of action of a virus-encoded enterotoxin will be an important focus of the project. Taken together, this project will dramatically expand our knowledge on the multiple underlying mechanisms leading to HuNoV disease. This will greatly advance the collective understanding of this infection and will constitute an important step forward towards the development of efficient countermeasures to control and prevent this infection. - You obtained a Master degree in Biomedical Sciences, Medicine, Biochemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Bioengineering, Biology or equivalent. - You are highly motivated, critical, and creative. - You can work independently but are also a team player.- You have an excellent knowledge of English, spoken and written. - You have excellent communication skills. - You are willing to work with zebrafish and zebrafish larvae. Previous experience is a plus.- Prior transcriptomics or bioinformatics experience is a plus. - You can do state-of-the-art, innovative research in an emerging scientific field.- You will get excellent guidance and supervision.- Your will be stimulated and supported to integrate your own research ideas and goals within the project.- You can collaborate with several other national and international research teams, allowing you to broaden your scientific knowledge and network. - You will get the chance to attend national and international conferences.- You will get a 1-year Ph.D. fellowship that is conditionally extendable up to 4 years; the position is fully funded. - The start date of the Ph.D. would be in the fall of 2023, the exact date is flexible and can be decided in joint consultation with your supervisor For more information please contact Prof. dr. Joana Duarte Da Rocha Pereira, tel.: +32 16 32 18 76, mail: You can apply for this job no later than 31/05/2023 via the online application tool

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KU Leuven – startersjobs & PhD