Blood-brain barrier derived non-conding RNAs as functional biomarkers for the aging BBB versus the BBB in Alzheimer’s Disease

ESR 7 vision / project

Ricardo Figueiredo - GenXPro GmbH


Blood-brain barrier derived non-conding RNAs as functional biomarkers for the aging BBB versus the BBB in Alzheimer’s Disease
A PhD student /Early stage researcher position available in the European Training Network Brain Barriers Training – BtRAIN

The European Training Network Brain Barriers Training – BtRAIN invites applications for a position for Early Stage Researchers (ESR)/PhD students.

Research in BtRAIN is dedicated to create and disseminate unique knowledge on the vertebrate brain barrier signature genes and their specific role in regulating brain barrier function in development, health, ageing and disease. BtRAIN will train a new generation of young researchers to think out of the box and to bridge disciplinary interfaces by providing trans-disciplinary training in research and technological development in the field of brain barriers research.

To achieve such a holistic overview on the biology of the vertebrate brain barriers, BtRAIN provides a unique trans-disciplinary and trans-sectorial environment, combining the expertise of clinical and non-clinical researchers in biomedical disciplines (developmental biology, vascular and cell biology, physiology, pharmacology, neuroimmunology) and technologies (chemistry, bioenigneering and imaging of the brain barriers) with that of bioinformatics from the academic and non-academic sector. BtRAIN fosters intense contacts of 12 academic and 6 non-academic partners from 7 EU countries, CH, USA and the European Network Brains4Brain.

A PhD position with a bioinformatic focus is available in the BtRAIN project 7 at GenXPro GmbH in Frankfurt, Germany. The project is entitled: Blood-brain barrier derived non-coding RNAs as functional biomarkers for the aging BBB versus the BBB in Alzheimer’s Disease.

Eligibility Criteria
BtRAIN is a research fellowship programme for ‚Early Stage Researchers (ESR)’. If you intend to do your PhD and you have less than 4 years research experience, you might apply for a fellowship. Applicants will have to meet the Marie Sklodowska-Curie eligibility criteria (p40-41)

Pre-requisites for the candidates

  • University Master Degree preferentially in Bioinformatics or in any discipline in the Life Sciences
  • Experience in molecular biology
  • Informatics and programming experience and/or experience in NGS-data processing is of advantage
  • Mobility during the program to fulfill the requirements for secondments
  • Ability to work in an international team and to meet deadlines
  • Ability to analyze, integrate and communicate large amounts of data
  • Ability to multi-task


Based on the knowledge that altered expression of noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) are a hallmark of many neuropsychiatric disorders including Alzheimer's disease (AD), we hypothesize that ncRNA signatures in blood reflect AD-related changes in the ncRNA profile of the BBB and may therefore be used as functional biomarkers for AD. Making use of ageing mice and transgenic mouse models of AD we will address the following tasks: Create the technical prerequisites for NGS analyses of the minute amounts of ncRNAs present in the blood of mice. Determine the most informative blood compartment (whole blood, plasma) for biomarker generation. Determine whether ncRNA profiles from BBB ECs of AD-affected and healthy aged mice correlate with ncRNA profiles from blood of these mice.

Expected Results

Define if blood ncRNA profiles reflect dysfunction of the BBB in AD.

Hosting institution

GenXPro GmbH, Frankfurt, Germany

Main Supervisor

Peter Winter

Early Stage Researcher

Ricardo Figueiredo