ERC STARTING GRANT funded Postdoctoral Fellow and PhD Student Positions in
IMMUNOMETABOLISM in Ebru Erbay’s Laboratory at Bilkent University, Ankara,
My laboratory’s research focus is at the intersection of
nutrient-sensitive, inflammatory and stress pathways in the context of
chronic inflammatory and metabolic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and
atherosclerosis. A major, unanswered question in immunometabolism is: How
do the excess of nutrients engage inflammatory and stress pathways in
cells and lead to the development of chronic metabolic and inflammatory
diseases? One clue is the chronic overloading of anabolic and catabolic
organelles by nutrients leads to metabolic stress. Indeed, metabolic
overload leads to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and activates the
unfolded protein response (UPR). We are interested in particular with ER’s
unconventional mechanisms of sensing the cellular lipid content and its
role in coupling nutrient signals to inflammatory responses. Our
laboratory’s major goal is to probe the molecular differences between the
detrimental consequences of metabolic ER stress and the adaptive UPR that
could be therapeutically exploited in chronic metabolic and inflammatory
diseases. The UPR consists of three branches, however, specific tools to
control any of these arms were not available. Our approach to this problem
involves using chemical-genetics to specifically modulate the activities
of two important kinases in the ER stress response, IRE-1 and PKR. This
method allows mono-specific activation or inhibition of only the modified
kinase in cells and tissues in vivo. Furthermore, this will be coupled to
substrate discovery (both RNA and protein) and creation of transgenic
mouse models where the activity of these essential kinases can be
regulated at specific points during atherogenesis. This work involves a
multidisciplinary approach including cell and molecular biology,
chemical-genetics, RNA-sequencing, proteomics, metabolomics, transgenic
mice, in vivo disease modeling, advanced imaging techniques, and
therapeutic targeting of miRNAs. Detailed information on the project can
be obtained by directly contacting Dr. Ebru Erbay at
This is a very exciting research project funded for the first time by ERC
Starting Grant in Life Sciences in Turkey. Several postdoctoral fellowship
positions, PhD student positions, technician positions are available
through an ERC Starting Grant, which will fund the above project for 4
more years. In addition, these positions come with exceptional benefits
(including subsidized housing for single and family, childcare, enrollment
in excellent private health insurance program, on campus Bilkent
University health services, free transportation using Bilkent services,
work computer, enrollment in Bilkent courses and continuing education
programs, training and conference trips, etc.). The research will be
carried out in our two new laboratories at the Department of Molecular
Biology (http://www.fen.bilkent.edu.tr/~bilmbg/ and
http://www.bilkent.edu.tr/~infobil/) and the Nanobiotechnology Laboratory
in the National Nanotechnology Research Center
(http://unam.bilkent.edu.tr/) located in Bilkent University campus. Our
labs are equipped with state-of-the art equipment and have access to cores
that will facilitate discovery.
Please, contact Dr. Ebru Erbay to inquire further information. For
application the following are needed: (1) CV, (2) Letter of Interest, (3)
A list of published work and copies of 3 most recent/relevant articles
(mainly required for postdoctoral applicants), (4) The contact information
of 3 references. These can be emailed by the deadline of a June 1 st, 2016
to eerbay@bilkent.edu.tr. Successful candidates will begin their new
positions as of September 1st 2016. (PhD positions can be applied to officially to
Bilkent MBG and until MBG depatments final application date: sometime in
early May, 2016).