Research Assistant on Behavioural Neurosciences and Model Organisms (PPCC- ADGUT_3)

  1. Introduction to the position:

The Nutrition, Eumetabolism, and Health Research Group at IDIBGI is actively seeking a research assistant specialized in Behavioural Neurosciences and Model Organisms. The selected candidate will be in charge of the creation of Drosophila models of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) to explore the implications of gut microbiota in this condition. Additionally, she/he will take charge of developing advanced histological, neurobiological, and behavioural techniques for the comprehensive assessment of AD models in Drosophila melanogaster.

The contract will be within the framework of the “Desarrollo de modelos personalizados para el estudio del eje microbiota-intestino-cerebro en la progresión de trastornos cognitivos asociados a la enfermedad de Alzheimer (ADGUT)” project prioritized by the IBEC under the “Plan Complementario de Biotecnología aplicada a la Salud” (Biotechnology Applied to Health).

This Plan Complementario is co-financed by the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación and the Generalitat de Catalunya, with funds from the European Union NextGenerationEU (PRTR-C17.I1)

2. Main duties and responsibilities:

The primary focus of the research project is to investigate the implications of the gut-brain-microbiota axis in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Utilizing a multidisciplinary approach, our goal is to identify the role of gut microbiota in the pathophysiology of AD by throughout pathways associated with tryptophan metabolismand its relationship with inflammation at both the systemic and CNS level altering the balance of neuroactive, neurotoxic, and neuroprotective metabolites in the brain. The main role of the candidate will be to validate the identified microbial species, microbial pathways, and tryptophan-related metabolites in  Drosophila models of AD (Tau-based and Aβ-based model).

Under the direction of Jordi Mayneris Perxachs and Anna Castells Nobau, the applicant will carry out the following research activities:

  • Generation of Drosophila models of AD using the UAS-GAL4 system
  • Generation of germ-free (sterile) and noncolonized fly models of AD to validate the role of bacterial spices, genetically modified bacterial spices in the development of AD-like phenotypes
  • Assessment of AD like phenotypes through biochemical, histological, and behavioural analyses:
    • Learning and memory assays. Drosophila capabilities will be assessed with the courtship and aversive taste conditioning assays.
    • Locomotor capabilities will be assessed with the negative geotaxis, the island assay and evaluating locomotion with the Ctrax.
    • Neurodegeneration will be assessed by haematoxylin and eosin staining of fly brains by measuring vascularization on the Kenyon cell body area.
    • Lifespan longevity assays.
    • Assessment of β-amyloid accumulation in the fly brain by western blot.
  • Validation of candidate enzymes involved in tryptophan metabolism in AD combining transgenic fly models with the UAS-GAL4 and GAL80 system. Evaluation of the neurons of the Drosophila eye to determine neuronal death (neurodegeneration).

The selected candidate will be located at the Biomedical research institute of Girona (IDIBGI) located at the parc hospitalari Martí Julià of Salt (Girona)

3. Requirements for candidates


  • Bachelor’s degree in biology, biotechnology, pharmacy, biomedicine, or related fields.
  • Master’s degree related to life sciences, biomedicine, neurobiology, or related disciplines.
  • Basic tasks for the maintenance and experimentation with Drosophila melanogaster: crosses, genotyping, embryo collection, dissections, immunofluorescence, use of the Gal-4/UAS7/Gal-80 system, etc.
  • Experience in behavioural experiments with Drosophila: cognitive tests for memory and learning determination, locomotion, among others.
  • Optimization of procedures and new methodologies in the Drosophila laboratory.
  • Validation of findings obtained from omics approaches.
  • Generation of mono-colonized flies with microbiota, including bacterial growth and animal colonization, under sterile conditions.
  • Processing human and animal biological samples in the laboratory and managing associated sample information.
  • DNA/RNA extraction from biological samples.
  • Experience in dissection, immunohistochemistry, and histological preparations of Drosophila melanogaster.
  • Competencies and skills: Communication, Teamwork and collaboration, Commitment, Proactivity, Integrity, Critical and Analytical thinking
  • High level of English


  • Computational and statistical tools for data analysis and presentation of results.
  • Validation of findings obtained from omics approaches.
  • Laboratory tasks involving recurring protocols and methods in molecular and cellular biology, database creation and manipulation, and subsequent analysis.

We Offer:

  • Number of available positions: 1
  • Starting date: By 1st of May 2024
  • Working conditions: 
    • Full time 14-month contract. Attractive salary
    • Measures to reconcile work and family life (maternity and paternity leave, flexible schedule working hours, 23 working days of paid holidays, 9 leave days for personal matters, among others).
    • Stimulating, interdisciplinary research and high-quality international scientific environment.
  • IBEC ensures equality of access to professional development opportunities irrespective of employment status, length at IBEC or other factors. The IBEC’s yearly training catalogue offers a wide range of training in technical and transferable skills including mobility grants and a Mentoring programme for predoctoral and postdoctoral researchers.
  • Induction programme to facilitate incorporation at IBEC and additional support is provided for foreigners to obtain Visa-working permit and to install in Barcelona.

How to apply:

Until 25th of February  an online application form is available through IBEC dedicated site:  

Only those applications submitted before the deadline will be evaluated.

Reference: PPCC- ADGUT_3

If you have any further questions regarding your application or the application process, please get in touch with us at

If you have any questions regarding a project or the Complementary Plan, please get in touch with us at

Principles of the selection process:

IBEC is committed to the principles of the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers of the European Commission and the Open, Transparent and Merit based Recruitment principles (OTM-R).

IBEC´s Commitment on equal opportunity:

Our strength and excellence as an international transdisciplinary Research Institute are based on diversity.  Being an equal opportunity employer, we are committed to diversity and inclusion, so that we support employees irrespective of their gender, nationality, religion, disabilities, age, sexual identity or cultural and socioeconomic background.”

For Postdoctoral and JR GL positions:

IBEC aims for a representative gender balance at all levels of staff, so we strongly encourage women to apply. At least 40% of shortlisted applicants invited to interview have to be women with comparable level of CVs as the male candidates.

Protection of personal data:

IBEC guarantees that candidates’ personal data are processed in accordance with the requirements of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Law 3/2018 on Data Protection.

Personal data will be processed solely for the purposes of the selection process.

Who we are?

The Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia, IBEC is an interdisciplinary research center focused on Bioengineering and Nanomedicine based in Barcelona. IBEC is one of the top research institutions named as a Severo Ochoa Research Centre by the Ministry of Science, Universities and Innovation, which recognizes excellence at the highest international level in terms of research, training, human resources, outreach and technology transfer.

IBEC’s mission is to develop international high-quality interdisciplinary research that, while creating knowledge, contributes to making a better quality of life, improving health and creating wealth. A close link with key universities, reference hospitals and corporations, are assets that facilitate achieving the mission.

IBEC was established in 2005 by the Generalitat de Catalunya (Autonomous Government of Catalonia), the University of Barcelona (UB) and the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC).

IBEC is located within the Barcelona Science Park and is managing 3.800 square meters facilities, with an annual budget of 13 Mio €; 3.800 square meters of facilities; 21 research groups and a team of researchers and support services of 350 people from 30 different countries.