Oferta de trabajo: Bioinformatician or Wet Lab Predoctoral Position to Study Transcriptional Regulation in Malaria Parasites


The Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) is a cutting-edge institute addressing global public health challenges through research, translation into policy and education. ISGlobal has a broad research portfolio in communicable and non-communicable diseases, ranging from basic research at the molecular level to studies at the population level.  ISGlobal is accredited with the Severo Ochoa distinction, a seal of excellence of the Spanish Science Ministry.



What We Are Looking for

ISGlobal is seeking to hire talented and highly motivated predoctoral scientists interested on working in a research project investigating novel aspects of the regulation of gene expression in malaria parasites. More specifically, the selected candidates will study gene expression in the context of processes such as sexual conversion, which is essential for disease transmission, and the heat-shock response, which enables parasite survival during fever episodes.

We accept applications from two alternative profiles:

  • Wet lab profiles
  • Bioinformatician profiles

The selected candidate will enjoy a 4-years predoctoral contract associated with a newly awarded grant funded by the Spanish government (former FPI contract)

The team

The ISGlobal Malaria Epigenetics lab directed by ICREA Research Professor Alfred Cortés investigates the regulation of gene expression in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.  We use a combination of approaches that include genome editing with CRISPR-Cas9 technology, state-of-the-art phenotypic characterisation and multi-omic approaches. Our ultimate goal is to generate high-quality basic knowledge that is relevant for the fight against malaria. 

Please visit our websites (https://www.icrea.cat/Web/ScientificStaff/alfred-cortes-closas-375; https://www.isglobal.org/equipo-formacion/-/profiles/2000; https://cortesmalarialab.wordpress.com/) for an overview of our recent contributions to understanding the biology of malaria parasites. These include the identification and characterisation of the master regulators of sexual conversion and of the heat-shock response.

We offer an inclusive, vibrant and intellectually-stimulating environment, with state-of-the-art facilities and a broad critical mass for malaria research. We support the professional growth of each and every member of our team through the many excellent training activities offered by ISGlobal, in-depth scientific discussions within the team and regular individual meetings with the group leader. We are seriously committed to promoting diversity and to favour work-family life balance. We love our social activities (including, among others, team building trips and ice-cream celebrations whenever we have something to celebrate). The selected candidate will be invited to participate in the ISGlobal Mentoring Program and in the activities of the ISGlobal PhD community, which include an annual symposium.

About the project

Plasmodium falciparum is responsible for the most severe forms of human malaria. Transcriptional regulation plays a key role in malaria parasite biology, as it controls fundamental processes such as life cycle progression, antigenic variation and adaptation to the conditions of the environment. Some of these processes are regulated at the epigenetic level, with a key role for euchromatin-heterochromatin transitions. Of note, heterochromatin plays a prominent role in the regulation of the conversion of some asexual parasites into sexual forms that mediate transmission to mosquito vectors. Another important process regulated at the transcriptional level is the heat-shock response, which enables parasite survival during malaria febrile episodes.

We have a predoctoral position available to work in a project investigating novel aspects of the regulation of sexual conversion and the heat-shock response in malaria parasites. The selected candidates will work in close collaboration with other members of the team and also with external national and international collaborators. 

-Wet lab profiles. On the day to day, the main experimental techniques used for this project will include culture and manipulation of P. falciparum (including genome editing with CRISPR/Cas9), state-of-the-art transcriptomic and epigenomic analyses, and advanced phenotypic characterisation using functional assays, among many others. In addition, this project will involve establishing and optimising in our laboratory several new techniques, including CUT&TAG, Hi-C / UMI-4C, single-cell omics and proximity labelling, with support from our collaborators. 
-Bioinformatician profiles. As part of this project, we will generate a large amount of multiomic data. The bioinformatician will use bioinformatic tools to analyse and integrate large multiomic datasets generated by other members of the team. While we have already established robust pipelines for the analysis of P. falciparum RNA-seq and ChIP-seq data, new pipelines for the analysis of CUT&TAG, Hi-C / UMI-4C and single-cell omics data will have to be developed. Novel, creative approaches will be needed for the analysis of some complex datasets. The bioinformatician will also work on the integration of the different omic datasets, and use previously published datasets available in public repositories. We consider very important to establish a fluent communication between bioinformaticians and wet lab scientists.

Field research

  • Biological sciences 

Training and experience /Qualifications

  • Wet lab profiles: a MSc in a discipline related with molecular and cellular biology (or a BSc that qualifies to start a PhD)
  • Bioinformatician profiles: a MSc in bioinformatics or a closely related discipline (or a BSc that qualifies to start a PhD)

Specific Requirements

  • Ability to work both autonomously and in close collaboration with other members of a team 
  • High level of enthusiasm and motivation; passion for science!
  • Previous research expertise in malaria and/or in regulation of gene expression/chromatin biology is desirable but not essential

Wet lab profiles:

  • Skills for establishing and optimising new molecular techniques
  • Bioinformatics skills are desirable but not essential

Bioinformatician profiles:

  • Strong background in bioinformatic analysis of omics data
  • Programming skills in R, Python, etc
  • Interest on understanding the biology associated with the omic data analysed


Key Responsibilities

Wet lab profiles: The main tasks will be to design and perform experiments for this project, to analyse and interpret the data, to optimise new techniques and to write the resulting manuscripts, in collaboration with other members of the team. The successful candidate is also expected to contribute to the supervision of junior members of the team and to participate in the scientific discussion of other projects. Good integration in the team environment is essential.

Bioinformatician profiles: The main tasks will be to analyse the data generated by other members of the team and to develop new methods of analysis. The selected candidate is expected to be creative in developing analysis approaches that result in maximal biological insight from the data generated.

The bioinformatician is expected to write manuscripts describing the data analysed, in collaboration with other members of the team. The successful candidate is also expected to assist wet lab scientists of the team in simple bioinformatic analyses and to develop pipelines that can be used by all members of the team for routine analyses. Good integration in the team environment is essential.

Specific Duties

Wet lab profiles:

  • Experiments with P. falciparum cultures (including advanced phenotypic characterisation of sexual conversion, heat-shock resistance and drug survival)
  • Generation of transgenic parasite lines using CRISPR/Cas9 technology
  • Molecular and cellular biology experiments (generation of plasmids, RT-qPCR, RNA-seq, ChIP-qPCR, ChIP-seq, IFA, etc)
  • Contribute to optimisation of new techniques in the team, including new omic approaches (CUT&TAG, Hi-C/UMI-4C, single-cell omics, proximity labelling)
  • Data analysis and preparation of manuscripts
  • Present results in scientific conferences
  • Contribute to scientific discussion and to training of new members of the team

Bioinformatician profiles:

  • Establish optimised bioinformatic analysis pipelines for routine analyses of omic data
  • Develop novel bioinformatic approaches for the analysis of complex datasets
  • Integrate data from diverse omic datasets (RNA-seq, ChIP-seq, CUT&TAG, Hi-C/UMI-4C, single-cell omics)
  • Write manuscripts describing the data analysed
  • Present results in scientific conferences
  • Contribute to scientific discussion (e.g., in lab meetings)
  • Provide guidance and/or training to wet lab scientists in basic bioinformatic analyses


  • Capacity to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English
  • Excellent organisation skills; ability to work systematically to maximise accuracy and minimise errors 
  • Demonstrated track record of achievements

Language level

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English are essential


  • Duration: four years.
  • Starting date: anytime from October 2023
  • Contract: Full time
  • Salary Range: According to ISGlobal salary scales, will depend on the level of experience and qualifications

How to apply

Applicants must fill in the request form and include the following code reference position: Predoc_MalariaEpigenetics_Sep23, attach the CV and a Cover Letter. Each attached document must be named with the candidate name and surname. 
The receipt of applications will be open until the position is covered (in principle, before the end of the year).

Informal enquiries can be addressed to Alfred Cortés (alfred.cortes@isglobal.org).

Applications will be accepted until 17.00 CET of the closing date.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

In ISGlobal we are committed to maintaining and developing a work environment in which the values and principles of our organization are respected and equal opportunities between women and men be promoted in each of the areas in which we operate, not tolerating discrimination based on criteria such as age, gender, marital status, race, ethnicity, functional diversity, political leanings, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. ISGlobal supports the initiative #ScienceforUkraine. Therefore, to sustain Ukraine’s presence in the European Research Area and international scholarly community, candidates from Ukraine on all levels of scholarly career are welcome: students, PhD candidates, early career researchers and senior scholars. We confirm our commitment towards the value of the diversity of our staff and student population and seek to promote peace, equity, diversity and inclusion as essential elements in contribution to improving health worldwide.