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ETH Zurich
Postdoctoral Research Assistant
ETH Zurich
ETH Zurich is one of the leading international universities for technology and the natural sciences. It is well known for its excellent education, ground-breaking fundamental research and for implementing its results directly into practice.
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JOB DETAILS
Published: 11 days ago
Application deadline: Unspecified
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
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Postdoctoral Research Assistant

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. It is renowned for its excellent education, its cutting-edge fundamental research and its efforts to put new knowledge and innovations directly into practice.
Postdoctoral Research Assistant
The position is offered in the Computational Biology (Claassen) Group in the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology at ETH Zürich, which focuses on concepts from statistics, machine learning and mathematical optimization to describe biological systems from single cell data. The position will involve research in the interdisciplinary consortium comprising researchers at ETH Zurich, University Zurich and the University Hospitals of Zurich. Research in this consortium focuses on diagnosis of cancer patients by integrating imaging flow cytometry and deep learning approaches.

Early diagnosis of cancer is a key determinant of patient outcome. Hematological malignancies manifest themselves in the blood and are therefore amenable to blood-based diagnostics. Traditionally, such diagnostic procedures rely on manual expert microscopical evaluation of blood cell morphology and suffer from subjectivity, limited throughput and low sensitivity. This situation has motivated the ongoing transition towards molecular diagnostic assays, and shifted the challenge towards identifying suitable molecular targets. Herein, we aim to resurge morphology-based diagnosis for hematological malignancies by overcoming current limitations through the establishment of an automated procedure integrating imaging flow cytometry and deep learning to achieve objective, ultra-high throughput and sensitive diagnosis. e focus on Sézary Syndrom, an aggressive cutaneous T cell lymphoma that is characterized by presence of tumor T cells with abnormal nucleus morphology in the peripheral blood.

We plan to establish a diagnosis approach based on imaging single-cell morphology of hundreds of thousands of peripheral blood cells and data-driven learning of characteristic morphologies (possibly of rare cell subsets) indicative of the presence of the disease. This approach integrates imaging flow cytometry (deMello, ETHZ) and deep learning technology (Claassen, ETHZ). The candidate is expected to develop deep learning methodologies to translate a diagnostic morphological signature for Sézary Syndrome from imaging flow cytometry blood measurements. With our clinical partner (Guenova, USZ) we plan to collect peripheral blood samples from over 200 healthy and diseased donors, evaluate their single-cell morphology using imaging flow cytometry and define a disease specific morphological signature by deep learning. These activities will result in a versatile diagnostic assay, since blood-based diagnosis is minimally invasive and morphology-based diagnosis circumvents technical challenges associated with detecting molecular markers. While we initially focus on Sézary Syndrome, our approach to define morphological peripheral blood cell signatures is likely applicable to a variety of other hematological malignancies or other diseases inducing morphological changes in the blood cell compartment, such as leukemia, or even inflammatory skin diseases.

The ideal candidate brings along a degree that demonstrates an interdisciplinary background in both life and formal sciences. While a background in experimental biology and single cell proteomic experiments is desired, a solid background in mathematics, statistics and programming is required to carry out the subsequent data analysis. A fluent level of English is mandatory. We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with excellent communication skills who is capable of working in an interdisciplinary environment and can team up with scientists for experimental as well as computational analysis. The candidate should have a high degree of initiative. A competitive salary will be provided, which will be well matched relative to the cost of living in Zürich. We offer work in a highly stimulating environment with state-of-the-art infrastructure, providing the successful applicant with unique opportunities to develop a strong interdisciplinary portfolio in both experimental and computational biology.
We look forward to receiving your online application including the following documents: letter of motivation, CV, degrees. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

For further information about the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology please visit our website: http://www.imsb.ethz.ch. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Prof. Dr. Manfred Claassen by email mclaassen@ethz.ch (no applications) or phone +41 44 633 0733.

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