Vacancies

The Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences of the Estonian University of Life Sciences (Eesti Maaülikool) (emu.ee/en/studies/doctoral-school/) opens a PhD position in the field of

"Characterization of proteomic molecules involved in embryo-maternal communication signal transductions via extracellular vesicles".

 

Project description

Extracellular vesicles (EV) are membrane-bound biological nanoparticles secreted by almost all cell types in the body under different physiological and pathological conditions. Though the EVs are a relatively newly identified mode of intercellular communication, studies show that EV-based communication is the common language of life for the whole biome. EV-mediated communications are diverse and include, but not limited to, regulating different innate immune responses, inflammation, and regeneration of the cells. Hence, EVs can be very good targets for biomarker discovery as well as drugs and therapeutics.

In our laboratories, we have extensively studied the role of the EVs in different aspects of reproductive processes in different species [1–6]. In particular, we have demonstrated that EVs are involved in embryo-maternal communication [1,4–6]. It seems EVs produced by embryo can affect mothers transcriptome at the genomic level [1,4]. Understanding the mechanisms of action and molecules involved in this processes will improve our understanding of factors mediating conception and embryo implantation. These data may be used for improving fertility in human and livestock.

The main aim of the current studentship is to identify EV proteomic profiles exchanged between the embryo and mother and identification and characterization of the putative protein(s) that could mediate EVs proteomic signalling pathway between the embryo and the maternal environment.

 

Required qualification: Master’s degree in Medical Biology or Physiology or Molecular Biology or a related field. Experience in working with extracellular vesicles, cell culture and molecular biology technologies will be advantageous.

Required language skills: Good level of English: Recent TOEFL Certificate (only internet-based test scores are accepted, with the minimum score being 61); Recent IELTS Certificate (minimum score: 5.0); Recent First Certificate in English of the University of Cambridge; Recent PTE academic (minimum score 51); or An official certificate from the higher educational establishment if the medium of instruction was English during the whole period of studies.

Application documents: CV (Curriculum Vitae), copy of the Master’s degree certificate, and motivation letter in free format. See complete list at emu.ee/en/admissions/doctoral-studies/admission-requirements/

Funding Notes: The PhD position is for a 4-year period. The expenses will be paid from the COMBIVET project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 857418.

The successful candidate will join the COMBIVET ERA Chair program (combivet.emu.ee) and will be working under the supervision of Professor Alireza Fazeli.

 

Application deadline: 31.05.21

Application web page: https://estonia.dreamapply.com/

Enquiries email: combivet@emu.ee

 

Existing research resources

Fazeli Research Group has extensive expertise and knowledge in isolation and characterization of EVs from different biological fluids. We have developed and optimized different methodologies for EV isolation and characterization [7–10]. The research group has also developed novel methods in EV tracking and uptake analysis, measuring the EV functionality, the specificity of the EVs to their target cells and the use of EVs in applied diagnostic and therapeutic settings.

The Fazeli group are actively involved in science dissemination for general public via taking part in different science festivals and public lectures. In addition, Fazeli group have so far organised three research schools entitled “Basics of working with EVs”, teaching over hundred young researchers and investigators from all over the globe, the basic skills required for standardized EV related experimentation.

COMBIVET Research Group (combivet.emu.ee)

Formed under the ERA Chair of Comparative Medicine, the COMBIVET Research Group is investigating the health challenges faced by both humans and animals. The research performed by the COMBIVET group aims to propel the Estonian University of Life Science as a leading European research organization in the field of comparative medicine.

COMBIVET ERA Chair project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 857418.

Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science (vl.emu.ee/en)

The Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences performs high-level modern teaching and R&D activities in the field of veterinary medicine, aquaculture, animal nutrition and production. Research involves almost all aspects of the “from farm to fork” production and processing chain of animal products.

Estonian University of Life Sciences (www.emu.ee/en)

Estonian University of Life Sciences is the only university in Estonia whose priorities in academic and research activities provide the sustainable development of natural resources as well as the preservation of heritage and habitat. According to QS World University Rankings by subject, the Estonian University of Life Sciences is one of top 50 universities in the world in the field of agriculture and forestry.

City of Tartu (visittartu.com)

Tartu, the City of Good Thoughts, is preponderantly a city of students and intellectuals. Tartu is the second largest city in Estonia, with around 100,000 inhabitants. It is very open to creative work and scientific culture, and always interesting events take place in the city.

ESTONIA (visitestonia.com/en/)

Estonia is located on the Baltic Sea shore, at the crossroads of Northern, Western and Eastern Europe. Since 2004 Estonia belongs to the European Union. Estonia attracts the visitors with its clean environment, diverse culture and excellent food. The landscape is covered with mires and bogs, fields and forests, limestone barrens and coastlines. Estonia has the largest collection of folk songs in the world. Music festivals and sports events connect culture and sports lovers from all over the world. Although Estonia may be the smallest of all Baltic countries, it more than makes up for this in different attractions.

 

References:

[1]             Es-Haghi M, Godakumara K, Häling A, Lättekivi F, Lavrits A, Viil J, Andronowska A, Nafee T, James V, Jaakma Ü, Salumets A, Fazeli A. Specific trophoblast transcripts transferred by extracellular vesicles affect gene expression in endometrial epithelial cells and may have a role in embryo-maternal crosstalk. Cell Commun Signal 2019; 17.

[2]             Hasan MM, Viil J, Lättekivi F, Ord J, Reshi QUA, Jääger K, Velthut-Meikas A, Andronowska A, Jaakma Ü, Salumets A, Fazeli A. Bovine Follicular Fluid and Extracellular Vesicles Derived from Follicular Fluid Alter the Bovine Oviductal Epithelial Cells Transcriptome. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2020; 21:5365.

[3]             Rooda I, Hasan MM, Roos K, Viil J, Andronowska A, Smolander O-P, Jaakma Ü, Salumets A, Fazeli A, Velthut-Meikas A. Cellular, Extracellular and Extracellular Vesicular miRNA Profiles of Pre-Ovulatory Follicles Indicate Signaling Disturbances in Polycystic Ovaries. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2020; 21:9550.

[4]             Dissanayake K, Nõmm M, Lättekivi F, Ord J, Ressaissi Y, Godakumara K, Reshi QUA, Viil J, Jääger K, Velthut-Meikas A, Salumets A, Jaakma Ü, et al. Oviduct as a sensor of embryo quality: deciphering the extracellular vesicle (EV)-mediated embryo-maternal dialogue. J Mol Med (Berl) 2021.

[5]             Dissanayake K, Nõmm M, Lättekivi F, Ressaissi Y, Godakumara K, Lavrits A, Midekessa G, Viil J, Bæk R, Jørgensen MM, Bhattacharjee S, Andronowska A, et al. Individually cultured bovine embryos produce extracellular vesicles that have the potential to be used as non-invasive embryo quality markers. Theriogenology 2020; 149:104–116.

[6]             Jamaludin NA, Thurston LM, Witek KJ, Meikle A, Basatvat S, Elliott S, Hunt S, Andronowska A, Fazeli A. Efficient isolation, biophysical characterisation and molecular composition of extracellular vesicles secreted by primary and immortalised cells of reproductive origin. Theriogenology 2019; 135:121–137.

[7]             Dissanayake K, Godakumara K, Fazeli A. Isolation of Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) Using Size-Exclusion High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (SE-HPLC). Methods Mol Biol 2021; 2273:189–200.

[8]             Dissanayake K, Midekessa G, Lättekivi F, Fazeli A. Measurement of the Size and Concentration and Zeta Potential of Extracellular Vesicles Using Nanoparticle Tracking Analyzer. Methods Mol Biol 2021; 2273:207–218.

[9]             Reshi QUA, Hasan MM, Dissanayake K, Fazeli A. Isolation of Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) Using Benchtop Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC) Columns. Methods Mol Biol 2021; 2273:201–206.

[10]          Midekessa G, Godakumara K, Ord J, Viil J, Lättekivi F, Dissanayake K, Kopanchuk S, Rinken A, Andronowska A, Bhattacharjee S, Rinken T, Fazeli A. Zeta Potential of Extracellular Vesicles: Toward Understanding the Attributes that Determine Colloidal Stability. ACS Omega 2020; 5:16701–16710.

 

Keywords: bioinformatics, cell biology, molecular biology, reproductive biology, veterinary medicine

 

Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

The Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences of the Estonian University of Life Sciences (Eesti Maaülikool) (emu.ee/en/studies/doctoral-school/) opens a PhD position in the field of

"Deciphering the embryo-induced maternal immune tolerance by characterizing the effects of the embryonic extracellular vesicles on the maternal innate immune system".

 

Project description

Embryo implantation is a crucial step in mammalian reproduction. The endometrial epithelium and the underlying stromal cells go through remarkable alterations to facilitate the process of implantation. During implantation process, embryo should be recognized as a foreign entity or “non-self” by the maternal immune system. However, the maternal immune system not only ignores this alien entity but also assists in the process of embryo implantation. The mechanisms of such action is not clearly understood. It is thought that the intercellular communications between the embryo and the endometrium at the time of implantation are important in inducing an immune tolerance.

A newly discovered mean of embryo-maternal communication is via extracellular vesicle (EV) mediated communications. EVs are a heterogeneous group of membrane bound small (diameter of 50-1000nm) biological structures known to be secreted by every known cell type. EVs take part in a multitude of molecular interactions with the target cells accomplishing a plethora of physiological functions including the regulation of innate immune responses.

The primary function of the innate immunity is to identify foreign entities such as pathogens or evidence molecules of cellular damage and initiating the proper immune reactions. It can be hypothesized that the immune ignorance/tolerance observed during implantation process could be the result of suppression or alteration of the innate immune modulation by EVs.

The main hypothesis to be tested during this studentship is that “Extracellular Vesicles are involved in mediating the maternal immune tolerance towards embryo at the time of implantation”. During the course of investigations, we will be characterizing the embryo derived EV surface proteome and the cargo molecules for potential interaction with innate immune system ligands of the maternal tract.

 

 

Required qualification: Master’s degree in Medical Biology or Physiology or Molecular Biology or a related field. Experience in working with extracellular vesicles, cell culture and molecular biology technologies will be advantageous.

Required language skills: Good level of English: Recent TOEFL Certificate (only internet-based test scores are accepted, with the minimum score being 61); Recent IELTS Certificate (minimum score: 5.0); Recent First Certificate in English of the University of Cambridge; Recent PTE academic (minimum score 51); or An official certificate from the higher educational establishment if the medium of instruction was English during the whole period of studies.

Application documents: CV (Curriculum Vitae), copy of the Master’s degree certificate, and motivation letter in free format. See complete list at emu.ee/en/admissions/doctoral-studies/admission-requirements/

Funding Notes: The PhD position is for a 4-year period. The expenses will be paid from the COMBIVET project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 857418.

The successful candidate will join the COMBIVET ERA Chair program (combivet.emu.ee) and will be working under the supervision of Professor Alireza Fazeli.

 

Application deadline: 31.05.21

Application web page: https://estonia.dreamapply.com/

Enquiries email: combivet@emu.ee

 

Existing research resources

Fazeli Research Group has extensive expertise and knowledge in isolation and characterization of EVs from different biological fluids. We have developed and optimized different methodologies for EV isolation and characterization [7–10]. The research group has also developed novel methods in EV tracking and uptake analysis, measuring the EV functionality, the specificity of the EVs to their target cells and the use of EVs in applied diagnostic and therapeutic settings.

The Fazeli group are actively involved in science dissemination for general public via taking part in different science festivals and public lectures. In addition, Fazeli group have so far organised three research schools entitled “Basics of working with EVs”, teaching over hundred young researchers and investigators from all over the globe, the basic skills required for standardized EV related experimentation.

COMBIVET Research Group (combivet.emu.ee)

Formed under the ERA Chair of Comparative Medicine, the COMBIVET Research Group is investigating the health challenges faced by both humans and animals. The research performed by the COMBIVET group aims to propel the Estonian University of Life Science as a leading European research organization in the field of comparative medicine.

COMBIVET ERA Chair project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 857418.

Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science (vl.emu.ee/en)

The Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences performs high-level modern teaching and R&D activities in the field of veterinary medicine, aquaculture, animal nutrition and production. Research involves almost all aspects of the “from farm to fork” production and processing chain of animal products.

Estonian University of Life Sciences (www.emu.ee/en)

Estonian University of Life Sciences is the only university in Estonia whose priorities in academic and research activities provide the sustainable development of natural resources as well as the preservation of heritage and habitat. According to QS World University Rankings by subject, the Estonian University of Life Sciences is one of top 50 universities in the world in the field of agriculture and forestry.

City of Tartu (visittartu.com)

Tartu, the City of Good Thoughts, is preponderantly a city of students and intellectuals. Tartu is the second largest city in Estonia, with around 100,000 inhabitants. It is very open to creative work and scientific culture, and always interesting events take place in the city.

ESTONIA (visitestonia.com/en/)

Estonia is located on the Baltic Sea shore, at the crossroads of Northern, Western and Eastern Europe. Since 2004 Estonia belongs to the European Union. Estonia attracts the visitors with its clean environment, diverse culture and excellent food. The landscape is covered with mires and bogs, fields and forests, limestone barrens and coastlines. Estonia has the largest collection of folk songs in the world. Music festivals and sports events connect culture and sports lovers from all over the world. Although Estonia may be the smallest of all Baltic countries, it more than makes up for this in different attractions.

 

References:

[1]          Reshi QUA, Hasan MM, Dissanayake K, Fazeli A. Isolation of Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) Using Benchtop Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC) Columns. Methods Mol Biol 2021; 2273:201–206.

[2]          Dissanayake K, Midekessa G, Lättekivi F, Fazeli A. Measurement of the Size and Concentration and Zeta Potential of Extracellular Vesicles Using Nanoparticle Tracking Analyzer. Methods Mol Biol 2021; 2273:207–218.

[3]          Midekessa G, Godakumara K, Ord J, Viil J, Lättekivi F, Dissanayake K, Kopanchuk S, Rinken A, Andronowska A, Bhattacharjee S, Rinken T, Fazeli A. Zeta Potential of Extracellular Vesicles: Toward Understanding the Attributes that Determine Colloidal Stability. ACS Omega 2020; 5:16701–16710.

[4]          Dissanayake K, Godakumara K, Fazeli A. Isolation of Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) Using Size-Exclusion High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (SE-HPLC). Methods Mol Biol 2021; 2273:189–200.

 

Keywords: biotechnology, cell biology, developmental biology, genomics, immunology, molecular biology, reproductive biology, veterinary medicine

 

Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

The Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences of the Estonian University of Life Sciences (Eesti Maaülikool) (emu.ee/en/studies/doctoral-school/) opens a PhD position in the field of

"Purification and characterisation of extracellular vesicles: a novel approach for valorisation of fruit and vegetable wastes".

 

Project description

Extracellular vesicles (EV) are membrane bound nano-scale particles found in all biological fluids. EVs are used in inter-cellular, inter-species and even in inter-kingdom level communications. EVs exist in animals and plants. Plant based EVs can potentially be a good source of food additives or pharmaceuticals. 

Huge volumes of food industrial wastes and/or by-products are generated (mainly from fruits and vegetables) every year around the world. The wastes not only creates safe disposal issues, but also contributes negatively for the environment, especially when they go as landfills, or if left untreated for long time or if burnt.  These wastes have created a significant carbon and blue water hotspot footprints, specifically in the industrialized regions.

Majority of the fruits and vegetables wastes/by-products represents a potential source of valuable phytochemicals/bioactive compounds and bioactive ingredients, which can be tapped for use as a natural additive in food, cosmeceuticals and/or in pharmaceutical applications. In this regard, tapping the potential of agri-food wastes and by-products can be a cost-effective source for mass production of EVs.

COMBIVET (combivet.emu.ee) and VALORTECH (emu.ee/en/research/project-valortech/) are two prestigious ERA Chair programs awarded to Estonian University of Life Sciences (EMU) by the EU commission. The current PhD project will utilise expertise and knowledge in these two programs, and test the hypothesis that food and vegetable wastes have functional EVs capable of affecting mammalian tissue and cells function.

 

The main objectives of this PhD project are:

  1. Develop and adapt current methodologies for purification and characterisation of plant based EVs to food and vegetable wastes.
  2. Identify the best source of locally generated wastes for production of plant-based EVs.
  3. To investigate, the effects of the plant-based EVs on mammalian cells that can make them beneficial as potential food additives, cosmetics or pharmaceutical applications.

 

Required qualification: Master’s degree in Medical Biology or Physiology or Molecular Biology or a related field. Experience in working with extracellular vesicles, cell culture and molecular biology technologies will be advantageous.

Required language skills: Good level of English: Recent TOEFL Certificate (only internet-based test scores are accepted, with the minimum score being 61); Recent IELTS Certificate (minimum score: 5.0); Recent First Certificate in English of the University of Cambridge; Recent PTE academic (minimum score 51); or An official certificate from the higher educational establishment if the medium of instruction was English during the whole period of studies.

Application documents: CV (Curriculum Vitae), copy of the Master’s degree certificate, and motivation letter in free format. See complete list at emu.ee/en/admissions/doctoral-studies/admission-requirements/

Funding Notes: The PhD position is for a 4-year period. The expenses will be paid from both COMBIVET (No 857418) and VALORTECH (No 810630) ERA Chair projects. State funding is foreseen for the student’s stipend.

The PhD student will be part of COMBIVET ERA Chair (combivet.emu.ee) and VALORTECH ERA Chair team (emu.ee/en/research/project-valortech/).

 

Application deadline: 31.05.21

Application web page: https://estonia.dreamapply.com/

Enquiries email: combivet@emu.ee

 

Existing research resources

In the last few years, the main supervisor (Professor Alireza Fazeli) research group have developed and optimized different methodologies for EV isolation and their characterization in terms of size, colloidal stability, morphology, surface proteome and molecular cargo [1-4]. The Fazeli group are actively involved in science dissemination for general public. They have so far organised three research schools entitled “Basics of working with EVs”, teaching over hundred young researchers and investigators from all over the globe.

The co-supervisor’s (Professor Rajeev Bhat) research group focuses mainly on valorisation of food industrial wastes and by-products. The expertise lays in identifying bioactive compounds, their bioactivity and finding potential applications in food, cosmetics or pharmaceutical applications.  The research and innovation activities of the group includes optimisation of processing technologies of various food industrial wastes and by-products and converting the wastes and by-products into high value added functional ingredients.

COMBIVET Research Group

Formed under the ERA Chair of Comparative Medicine, the COMBIVET Research Group is investigating the health challenges faced by both humans and animals. The research performed by the COMBIVET group aims to propel the Estonian University of Life Science as a leading European research organization in the field of comparative medicine.

COMBIVET ERA Chair project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 857418.

VALORTECH Research Group

VALORTECH ERA Chair holds a broader vision related to develop into a leading centre of excellence in development of advanced technologies for minimum waste, maximum utilisation and valorisation of various raw materials and components used in food and non-food value chains.

VALORTECH ERA Chair has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 810630.

More information on the group can be checked here (emu.ee/en/research/project-valortech/team/).

Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science (vl.emu.ee/en)

The Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences performs high-level modern teaching and R&D activities in the field of veterinary medicine, aquaculture, animal nutrition and production. Research involves almost all aspects of the “from farm to fork” production and processing chain of animal products.

Estonian University of Life Sciences (www.emu.ee/en)

Estonian University of Life Sciences is the only university in Estonia whose priorities in academic and research activities provide the sustainable development of natural resources as well as the preservation of heritage and habitat. According to QS World University Rankings by subject, the Estonian University of Life Sciences is one of top 50 universities in the world in the field of agriculture and forestry.

City of Tartu (visittartu.com)

Tartu, the City of Good Thoughts, is preponderantly a city of students and intellectuals. Tartu is the second largest city in Estonia, with around 100,000 inhabitants. It is very open to creative work and scientific culture, and always interesting events take place in the city.

ESTONIA (visitestonia.com/en/)

Estonia is located on the Baltic Sea shore, at the crossroads of Northern, Western and Eastern Europe. Since 2004 Estonia belongs to the European Union. Estonia attracts the visitors with its clean environment, diverse culture and excellent food. The landscape is covered with mires and bogs, fields and forests, limestone barrens and coastlines. Estonia has the largest collection of folk songs in the world. Music festivals and sports events connect culture and sports lovers from all over the world. Although Estonia may be the smallest of all Baltic countries, it more than makes up for this in different attractions.

 

References:

[1]             Dissanayake K, Godakumara K, Fazeli A. Isolation of Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) Using Size-Exclusion High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (SE-HPLC). Methods Mol Biol 2021; 2273:189–200.

[2]             Dissanayake K, Midekessa G, Lättekivi F, Fazeli A. Measurement of the Size and Concentration and Zeta Potential of Extracellular Vesicles Using Nanoparticle Tracking Analyzer. Methods Mol Biol 2021; 2273:207–218.

[3]             Reshi QUA, Hasan MM, Dissanayake K, Fazeli A. Isolation of Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) Using Benchtop Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC) Columns. Methods Mol Biol 2021; 2273:201–206.

[4]             Midekessa G, Godakumara K, Ord J, Viil J, Lättekivi F, Dissanayake K, Kopanchuk S, Rinken A, Andronowska A, Bhattacharjee S, Rinken T, Fazeli A. Zeta Potential of Extracellular Vesicles: Toward Understanding the Attributes that Determine Colloidal Stability. ACS Omega 2020; 5:16701–1671

 

Keywords: agricultural sciences, biotechnology, molecular biology, plant biology, food production, physiology, veterinary medicine, veterinary nutrition

 

Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.