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Two post-doctoral positions on the pathophysiology of human adrenal at INSERM Unit 1239



Two post-doctoral positions are available at INSERM Unit 1239, University of Rouen Normandie, in the team “Neuroendocrinology and Pathophysiology of the Adrenal Cortex and Energy Metabolism” lead by Pr Hervé Lefebvre. These positions for two- and one-year periods are funded by the Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (ANR) and the Fonds Européen de Développement Régional (FEDER) - Réseaux d’Intérêts Normands (RIN), respectively.

Context & Rationale. Bilateral macronodular adrenocortical hyperplasia (BMAH) is a rare cause of primary adrenal hypercortisolism (Cushing’s syndrome). Our team has shown that a subpopulation of adrenocortical cells abnormally produces ACTH which stimulates cortisol secretion in a paracrine manner (Louiset et al, New Engl J Med, 2013, 369:2115-25). These ACTH-positive cells express markers of gonadal differentiation. Since adrenal glands and gonads derive from the same embryonic precursor, these observations suggest that BMAH may result from a defect occurring during early embryogenesis and resulting in the maintenance, within the adrenal areas, of some steroidogenic cells with a gonadal fate.

Post-doctoral project. The global objective of the proposed research positions is to characterize the pseudo-gonadal phenotype of ACTH-synthesizing cells in BMAH tissues.
The project will combine quantitative RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry and HPLC coupled to mass spectrometry in BMAH tissues, and isolation of ACTH-producing cells by flow cytometry to study their transcriptomic profile and their steroid secretory profile through mass spectrometry.

Scientific environment. INSERM U1239 is located at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Rouen Normandie, close to technical facilities including cell imaging and proteomic platforms. The team has developed a strong expertise in the field of adrenal pathophysiology through several research programs with translational medical aspects. This research activity is based on an intense collaboration with national and European networks for collection and study of adrenal tumors, i.e. the COMETE and Ens@t networks. Post-doctoral fellows will be supervised in a stimulating environment with opportunities to use multiple experimental approaches and experience interactions with clinicians.

Candidates profile. Highly motivated young scientists should have a strong background in biochemistry and endocrinology. They must have interest in pathophysiology of endocrine diseases. Prior experience in the approaches aimed at characterizing biomarkers in neoplastic tissues is recommended. Mastering cell sorting or mass spectrometry would be greatly appreciated.

Send your CV and motivation letter mentioning two references to Pr Hervé Lefebvre; INSERM U1239 and Rouen University Hospital, University of Rouen Normandie, France; Email:

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