Expression of Interest

Contact Person/Scientist in Charge

  • Name and surname: Fernando Pastor Rodríguez
  • Email: fpasrodriSPAMFILTER@unav.es

Foundation for Applied Medical Research (FIMA)

Department / Institute / Centre

  • Name: Center for Applied Medical Research (CIMA), University of Navarra
  • Address: C/ Pío XII, 55, CP 31008, Pamplona, Navarra (Spain)
  • Province: Navarra

Research Area

  • Life Sciences (LIF)

Brief description of the institution:

The Center for Applied Medical Research (CIMA) is a biomedical research institution promoted by the University of Navarra. CIMA’s research on cellular and molecular biology has a deep translational orientation and is focused on solving unmet medical needs.

CIMA brings fundamental research closer to its clinical application, and collaborates with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries to develop products for diagnosis and treatment. The main purpose of the center is to carry out high-quality scientific work in service to all mankind combating diseases that cause great suffering and for which no cure has yet been discovered.

CIMA's research is currently oriented in vertical programs (Hepatology, Oncology. Solid Tumors, Hematology-Oncology, Neuroscience and Cardiovascular Disease) and interdisciplinary programs (Gene Therapy and Regulation of Gene Expression, Immunology and Immunotherapy, Cell and Regenerative Therapy and Molecular Therapies).

Aware of the complexity of this endeavor, CIMA operates in a context of Open Innovation, and collaborates with other research institutions, companies, public organizations and investors.
From its foundation, more than 80 patents have been submitted, leading to several license agreements and five spin-off companies.

Brief description of the Centre/Research Group (including URL if applicable):

Our institution,CIMA,works hand in hand with the clinic University of Navarra and has arisen as the need to address new solutions to patients’ hurdles.My team focuses on the development of aptamers for clinical applications with a more specific aim at therapeutics in oncology and gene therapy.My lab belongs to the department of Molecular Therapy,where other groups are working in development of small molecules and peptides.My group performs a translational research although also very transversal with quite diverse branches of collaborations with other expertise teams such as oncology,tumor immunology,hematology,gene therapy, etc.
In the aptamer unit,we are currently six people:one biotechnologist with a PhD in Science who has also the function of lab manager;one postdoc,one technician and two predoctoral fellows.
The new members incorporated to the lab will gain expertise in techniques of aptamer selection by SELEX,high-throughput sequencing and analysis,binding assays to determine affinities by several different methods,functional in vitro assay to determine the activity of the aptamers,cell culture,molecular biology,animal handling,immuno assays,etc.
As principal investigator,I have funding from three international and two national competitive grants that guarantees the continuity of our research for several years.My group has been quite proliferous in the last few years with several publications in high profile journals such as Nature,Molecular Therapy,Molecular Therapy Nucleic Acids,Biomaterials,Oncoimmunology,etc.

Project description:

Development of an aptamer-based therapeutic platform to potentiate tumor immunity:the postdoctoral fellow will become proficient in aptamer selection by different SELEX methods as well as in tumor immunology.The project focuses on the identification and characterization of novel immunostimulatory aptamers that could overcome lack of T-cell infiltration in immunological cold tumors.To that end,the postdoc will conduct cell SELEX and in vivo SELEX that will lead to specific phenotypes in vivo in tumor-implanted mice.The aptamers selected will serve as a therapeutic agent to enhance tumor inflammation but also to identify new therapeutic potential targets in the tumor milieu that are responsible for hampering the recruitment of T lymphocytes.The aptamer-targeted molecule responsible for immune inert tumors will be identified by precipitation and mass spectrometry.The function and importance of the de novo target molecule identified will be further confirmed by CRISPR CAs9 knockout technology and overexpression in the tumor cells.
The new therapeutic strategy will also be combined with other aptamer-based immunotherapy approaches developed by our group based on targeting costimulatory agonistic aptamers to the tumor and immune-checkpoint blockade such as TIM3,Lag3 and others that are under development.
The results obtained in the project will likely lead to the identification of new mechanisms by which the tumor shields itself from the attack of the immune system and will drive to the development of new therapeutic interventions in cancer immunotherapy.The results will be diffused by the postdoctoral fellow in international meetings and will likely be published in high profile journals.

Applications

Documents to be submitted: 

  • A Curriculum Vitae 
  • Summary presentation of the candidate’s research proposal and expertise that he/she would bring to the institution (maximum extension determined by the supervisor. According to the MSCA Programme, the maximum length of a proposal is 10 pages, excluding the CV of the researcher and the annexes)
  • A motivation letter (1 page)
  • Contact information of two referees 

Deadline: 15 July 2018, 17:00 (Brussels time)

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