Oferta de trabajo: PhD: Targeting pregnant women for malaria surveillance: from the bench to the field


The Barcelona Institute for Global Health, ISGlobal, is the fruit of an innovative alliance between academic, government, and philanthropic institutions to contribute to the efforts undertaken by the international community to address the challenges in global health.


Barcelona - Campus Clinic

What we are looking for

ISGlobal is looking for an enthusiastic, organized and autonomous PhD researcher who is interested in applying for a predoctoral grant to develop her/his postdoctoral project in the context of a project aiming to assess the molecular basis of pregnancy-based surveillance approach that can guide malaria control and elimination efforts. Interested candidates will work with Dr Alfredo Mayor as supervisor. Dr Mayor is Associate Research Professor and leader of the Malaria Physiopathology Group at ISGlobal. 

The project

Malaria control an elimination require precise metrics to monitor the trends in transmission, levels of antimalarial resistance levels and the clinical impact of parasite infections. However, standard surveillance systems used in Africa are expensive and imprecise. What if we use pregnant women attending health facilities as a sentinel surveillance group? Pregnant women are at increased susceptibility to malaria and easy accessible at antenatal clinics. Moreover, parasites infecting pregnant women are unique in that they sequester in the placenta through the expression of an antigen (VAR2CSA) that mediates binding to chondroitin sulphate A. With the aim of providing epidemiological and molecular evidences of the value of pregnant women attending health centres to generate estimates of the burden of malaria and its adverse consequences in situations of different transmission levels, we will develop Luminex-based assays to measure biomarkers (e.g., antibodies against VAR2CSA) of malaria exposure during pregnancy that can be used as surrogates for malaria transmission. We will compare the genetic composition of parasites in pregnant women and children, and will study immune responses developed by pregnant women against infection and disease. Overall, the doctoral fellow will contribute to apply the knowledge gained on malaria during pregnancy to the development of new tools for the epidemiological surveillance of malaria as well as to the malaria elimination activities currently being deployed in Southern Mozambique.

Key Responsibilities

  • Apply for PhD grants.
  • Develop parasitological and molecular techniques at ISGlobal’s laboratory.
  • Analyse and prepare manuscripts presenting results obtained during the research.
  • Develop a thesis on the main topic of the project.
  • Capacity building of Mozambican students.

Training and experience

  • Degree in Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Biology or similar areas.
  • Self-motivation, eagerness to grow professionally and commitment to self-development
  • Basic training in lab work
  • Ability to establish and maintain a good working relationship with people of different national and cultural backgrounds. 
  • Computer skills (Windows, Microsoft Office, Statistics and BioInformatics) are also of value. 
  • The selected candidate will need to apply for a pre-doctoral fellowship. For this reason, only candidates with average degree qualifications above 2.2 in the 0-4 scale will be considered.

Skills (HR proposes for PRE Doct)

  • Teamwork.
  • Professional development expectation. 
  • Problem resolution.
  • Learning capacity.

Language level

  • Good English level.


  • Duration: Depending on the grant.  
  • Starting date: Linked to a grant application.

How to apply

Applicants must fill in the request form including the following reference: PhD_AGAURandOthers_Sept19 . The receipt of applications will be open until November, 30th 2020.

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, sex, marital status, race, ethnicity, disabilities, political leanings, religion or sexual orientation