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PhD Student in Immunotoxicity and Neurotoxicity assiciated with early-life exposure to environmental pollutants

ABG-110560 Thesis topic
2023-01-27 Partial or full private funding (CIFRE agreement, foundation, association)
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Luxembourg Institute of Health
Esch-sur-Alzette - Luxembourg
PhD Student in Immunotoxicity and Neurotoxicity assiciated with early-life exposure to environmental pollutants
  • Biology
molecular, immune, epigenetic, pollutants

Topic description

Background and Research Environment. The IEE Research Group focuses on elucidating the molecular, immune and epigenetic mechanisms that link the early-life exposome to negative lifelong health trajectories (developmental origins of health and disease). The team are particularly interested in the long-term effects of early-life exposure to adversity such as pollutants, abuse, and poor psychosocial and socioeconomic conditions. In order to understand the long-term consequences of such negative conditions in early life, we use an interdisciplinary holistic approach, integrating data from multiple physiological systems to understand how the early-life environment induces a lifelong-programmed phenotype. Our work depends upon successful collaborations with toxicologists, immunotoxicologists, neurotoxicologists and psychobiologists to develop research aiming at characterizing new NAMs addressing three major endpoints in immunotoxicity and neurotoxicology;


Objectives: The PhD candidate will address the role of Natural Killer cells in immunosuppression based on previous human studies highlighting that these cells are durably altered in adulthood in individuals having been exposed early in life to bisphenol analogues compared with respective-free control subjects. In vitro, he/she will use NK cells derived from Human CD34+ Hematopoietic Stem Cells to investigate how bisphenol analogues, alone or in mixture, trigger immunosuppression/induce immunotoxicity, through an unbiased screening tool for flow cytometry data visualization, viSNE. The candidate will specifically address the NK immune cell population immunophenotyping and its functionality (cytotoxicity and degranulation response assessment). An in vivo study, based on our established rat models of immuno- and neurodevelopmental toxicity will be performed on a selection of BPA analogues inducing NK-cell immunosuppression to (i) validate the suitability of our in vitro model at modelling an Early-Life Adversity and (ii) to investigate by which mechanisms the immune system becomes impaired after early-life exposure to these BPA analogues. The shift on the senescent state of NK cells will be targeted.

Starting date


Funding category

Partial or full private funding (CIFRE agreement, foundation, association)

Funding further details

AFR Bilatéral

Presentation of host institution and host laboratory

Luxembourg Institute of Health

The Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) is a public biomedical research organisation focused on precision health and invested in becoming a leading reference in Europe for the translation of scientific excellence into meaningful benefits for patients. LIH places the patient at the heart of all its activities, driven by a collective obligation towards society to use knowledge and technology arising from research on patient-derived data to have a direct impact on people’s health. Its dedicated teams of multidisciplinary researchers strive for excellence, generating relevant knowledge linked to immune related diseases and cancer. The institute embraces collaborations, disruptive technology and process innovation as unique opportunities to improve the application of diagnostics and therapeutics with the long-term goal of preventing disease.

PhD title

PhD Student

Country where you obtained your PhD


Candidate's profile

Key Skills, Experience and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences, Biology, Medicine, or other related fields
  • Curious as to how we adapt to our environment, and the developmental origins of health and disease
  • Interested in working in a truly international and interdisciplinary project team
    • Independent and self-motivated person, scientific creativity and originality, strong team spirit and collaborative capacity, excellent time management, rigour, perseverance, strong writing skills.
  • Fluency in English is mandatory


The successful candidate will join a highly dynamic research environment and get access to several core facilities and relevant state-of-the-art technologies. S/he will benefit from an active seminar program, international conference attendances and opportunities to collaborate with toxicologists, immunotoxicologists, neurotoxicologists, and psychobiologists.

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