Junior Researcher Positions: Chemical exposomics for human biomonitoring

RECETOX Centre of Masaryk University carries out interdisciplinary research and education in the area of Environment & Health with a specific focus on assessment of toxic compounds,  their behaviour, transport & bioaccumulation, their adverse effects, and related environmental and health risks as well as new enabling technologies, biotechnologies, and IT tools for linking environmental stressors to population health and mitigating their impacts. https://www.recetox.muni.cz/en   Lab Group details The Chemical Exposomics lab focused on profiling of chemical exposures and their association to population health is a research group newly established within the Environmental Chemistry and Modelling research program of the RECETOX Centre co-ordinated by Prof Jana Klánová. The group led by Dr Elliott J Price is developing analytical workflows for exposure and effect biomarker discovery and routine biomonitoring screens. Chemical Exposomics research is inherently interdisciplinary & the group benefits from access to state-of-the-art core facilities within RECETOX (https://www.recetox.muni.cz/en/services) and CEITEC (https://www.ceitec.eu/core-facilities/) & infrastructures across Masaryk University (https://www.muni.cz/en/research/large-research-infrastructure-projects).   Project details and job description Position 1 Few chronic conditions can be explained by genetics alone and environmental (non-genetic) factors are recognised as key determinants for health. Chemical exposures comprise a major portion of these non-genetic influences and humans are exposed to hundreds of thousands of chemicals in daily life from e.g. diet (food, supplements), lifestyle (personal care products, smoking), medication (pharmaceuticals) and urban contaminants (pesticides, pollutants). Measurement of the complex mixture of exogenous compounds we internalise is vital to understand their effects on our health. Over the past decade, technological developments of high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) has enabled full-scan “non-target” screening of chemical mixtures in complex matrices to achieve simultaneous measurement of hundreds of exogenous contaminants per sample, alongside endogenous metabolites. However, HRMS applications are predominately coupled with liquid chromatography (LC) and applications coupled to gas chromatography (GC) are limited. Despite this, GC-HRMS offers many advantages compared to LC-HRMS, such as i) greater chromatographic separation, ii) reproducible fragmentation and iii) lower cost. These benefits make GC-HRMS more amenable for the large-scale, longitudinal research needed for exposure assessment. As part of an international effort to characterise the urban exposome and relationship to cardio-metabolic-pulmonary health, the successful candidate will work in collaboration with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA and Columbia University, New York, USA, to align GC-HRMS (Q Exactive GC Orbitrap GC-MS/MS) workflows and undertake harmonised screening of environmental contaminants in thousands of blood samples. Generated data will be integrated with additional characterisations undertaken by International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, Lyon, France) & undergo a novel Exposome-Wide Association Study (EWAS) to relate external-internal exposure at the population scale and identify environmental risk factors for disease.   Position 2 Comprehensive measurement of exposure biomarkers is imperative to characterise internal dose, elicited health effects, and assess the risks posed by the cocktail of chemicals that humans are subject to on a daily basis. High-resolution full-scan mass spectrometry (HR-FS MS) coupled to liquid chromatography (LC) or gas chromatography (GC) has emerged as a leading technology for the profiling of chemical mixtures in complex matrices. GC & LC are complementary, though have been rarely applied in conjunction for biomonitoring applications. The successful candidate will join development of workflows to enable combined GC- and LC- HR-FS MS profiling of chemical exposure biomarkers, using Q Exactive GC Orbitrap GC-MS/MS and LC Orbitrap Fusion Tribrid MS. Developed workflows will be applied within various international and national projects (e.g. EXPANSE, OBERON, HBM4EU, CETOCOEN Excellence), focussed on pilot cohort studies to assess the risk of multiple mixed exposures in health and disease, with potential for future scale-up to population biomonitoring. The successful candidate will benefit from close collaborations, both internally (e.g. Trace Analytical Laboratories, Institute of Computer Science) and internationally (e.g. LABERCA, INRAE, France & University College London, UK) to be at the forefront of developments in this emerging field.   Further details Please contact Dr. Elliott Price for additional information regarding scientific scope (Tato e-mailová adresa je chráněna před spamboty. Pro její zobrazení musíte mít povolen Javascript.).   Requirements
  1. Excellent communication and teamwork skills
  2. Enthusiasm and eagerness to gain insight into public health, toxicology & environmental exposure assessment
  3. Demonstrable experience with full-scan GC-MS and/ or LC-MS (preferably Orbitrap)
  4. Extensive understanding of sample preparation for analysis of small molecules in human biological samples
  5. Knowledge of measurement of chemical exposures and/ or metabolism including QA/QC requirements and multi-factorial study designs
  6. Competence with open MS data processing tools (e.g. mzMINE2, MS-DIAL, XCMS) and/ or multivariate statistics (e.g. PCA, PLS) would be appreciated
  7. Ph.D. in a chemistry, biology, or equivalent
  We offer
  1. Vibrant working environment at RECETOX, access to state-of-the-art infrastructure
  2. Dynamic group surrounded by international team of experts
  3. Involvement in EU projects (EXPANSE & CETOCOEN Excellence)
  4. Brno provides high quality of life, University City with lots of culture, family friendly etc.
  5. Salaried University employee with healthcare and generous holidays
  6. Support from MU International office for relocation etc.
  Applications and selection process Applicants should provide the following information in their application in English
  1. CV
  2. Cover letter describing candidate's research interest and experience
  3. Summary of publications and research outputs
  4. Names and contact details of at least 2 professional referees
The deadline for applications is on 31 August 2020. A review of applications will run continuously as they are received and until the position is filled. The short-listed applicants complying with the requirements will be invited for personal or Skype interviews. The application shall be submitted online via an e-application: https://www.muni.cz/en/about-us/careers/vacancies/57153 (Please, use the link in the e-Application above). After submitting your application successfully, you will receive an automatic confirmation email from jobs.muni.cz. Contact: Tato e-mailová adresa je chráněna před spamboty. Pro její zobrazení musíte mít povolen Javascript., Barbora Chlubná.   Selection Process Received applications will be considered carefully in line with the principles of the EU Charter and Code for Researchers. Selection criteria: (i) meeting qualification requirements described above, (ii) all required documents provided. The Faculty Recruitment Policy (OTM-R) can be seen here. If we do not contact you within 30 working days after the application deadline at the latest, it means that we have shortlisted other candidates meeting the position requirements.   Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, is an equal opportunity employer. We support diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.   More about Masaryk University is the second-largest university in the Czech Republic with nine faculties, more than 5000 staff, and more than 30 000 students. As a comprehensive research-intensive university with a strong international standing, our mission is to pursue top-quality research and education. Faculty of Science MU, a proud holder of the HR Excellence in Research Award by the European Commission, is a research-oriented faculty, offering university education (Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degree programs) closely linked to both primary and applied research and high school teaching of the following sciences: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Earth sciences. We are the most productive scientific unit of Masaryk University, generating around 40 % of MU research results. Brno, the capital of the South Moravian Region, situated approximately halfway between Prague and Vienna, it is the largest university town in the Czech Republic and a modern metropolis with a long history and culture. Recognizing the university’s significant role in making Brno one of the most innovative cities in the CEE region, it continuously supports, together with the South Moravian Region, the local scientific, start-up, and high-tech communities.