Group Leader - Quantitative Tissue Biology and Disease Modelling (2 positions)

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)

Contract Duration: 5 years

Job Description
The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) is one of the highest ranked scientific research organisations world-wide. The Headquarters Laboratory is located in Heidelberg (Germany), with additional sites in Barcelona (Spain), Grenoble (France), Hamburg (Germany), Hinxton near Cambridge (UK) and Rome (Italy).

Questions about tissues and organs (development, regeneration, homeostasis, cancer) are still most often tackled at the molecular or cellular level. We tend to ask how individual progenitor cells respond to signals from their “environment”, and thus to focus on signal transduction pathways, gene regulatory events, and epigenetic memory. But an organ is more than just an environment for cells to “act” in – it is an integrated whole, a coherent community, with cells in constant genetic, chemical and mechanical communication with each other. New technical advances such as organoid culture, 3D mesoscopic imaging, multicellular transcriptomics and computer modeling are helping us to go beyond the molecular and cellular level, to understand multicellular feedback loops, long-range signalling networks and emergent collective decisions, and thus to see tissues and organs as systems in their own right. Modelling these higher-level processes in vitro and in silico will help us understand: what goes wrong in diseased and cancerous tissues, how organs can regenerate, and how to engineer new tissues.

EMBL Barcelona will focus on going beyond the molecular and cellular scale, integrating gene circuits with a tissue-level quantitative understanding of organs, both healthy and diseased. To this end we will forge collaborations with the excellent local research hospitals in Barcelona. We now seek two outstanding candidates for junior group leader positions to start some time after February 2018. They should present an inspiring plan for a systems biology approach to studying biology at the multicellular level, in any of the following areas: organoids, hiPSC disease modeling, tissue homeostasis, development, regeneration, cancer, immunology, vasculogenesis, tissue engineering, microfluidics technology, bio-printing, and organ-on-a-chip technology. We believe strongly in an interdisciplinary approach, combining experimental biology with computational modelling, engineering or biophysics. Proposals are encouraged to take advantage of our mesoscopic imaging facility which provides cutting-edge technologies for digitizing organoids, tissues and embryos in 3D and 4D. Researchers will also have access to state-of-the-art facilities for genomics, proteomics, FACS and high-powered microscopy.

Application Instructions
Please apply online through

Please include a cover letter, CV and a concise description of research interests & future research plans. Please also arrange for 3 letters of recommendation to be emailed directly by your referees to at the latest by 01 October 2017.

Additional Information
Further information about the positions can be obtained from the Head of EMBL Barcelona James Sharpe (

Interviews are planned for late December 2017.

Information on Group Leader appointments can be found under

The working language of the institute is English.

An initial contract of 5 years will be offered to the successful candidate. This is foreseen to be extended to a maximum of 9 years, subject to an external review.

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