A post-doctoral position is available to study the immune mechanisms involved in Long COVID. The successful applicant will join the team of Lisa Chakrabarti at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. The position is funded for 3 years by the ANRS-MIE.
A significant proportion of patients with COVID-19 still experiences symptoms more than 3 months after an initial infection with SARS-CoV-2. Persisting or reemerging symptoms are varied, with a predominance of asthenia, neurocognitive impairment, and dyspnea. The persistence of these debilitating symptoms defines the Long COVID syndrome, which is now considered a serious public health concern. Importantly, the etiology of Long COVID remains unknown. We propose to test the hypothesis that an inefficient antiviral T cell response underlies Long COVID. The rationale is that suboptimal T cell immunity could promote viral persistence, with residual virus in turn causing localized tissue damage and persistent inflammation.
The study will involve an in-depth analysis of SARS-COV-2 specific T cell responses in Long COVID patients and convalescents, based on spectral flow cytometry analyses and single cell approaches. The efficiency of the T cell response will also be evaluated at the molecular level, by analyzing the affinity of the most prevalent T cell receptors (TCRs) specific for immunodominant SARS-COV-2 epitopes. Markers of residual inflammation will be measured in the different patient groups through a proteomic analysis of whole sera, which may help uncover new protein signatures associated to Long COVID. Clinical evaluation and highly sensitive viral load measurements will be performed by collaborating teams. An integrated analysis of these parameters will help determine whether inefficient T cell responses correlate with residual inflammation and viral persistence. The postdoctoral fellow will benefit from the availability of biobanked samples, the access to state-of-the art technological platforms, and the very dynamic environment of the Pasteur Institute.
We are looking for a skilled and highly motivated candidate with:
- a PhD in the field of Immunology or Virology
- research experience in the analysis of T cell responses and/or T cell infection
- a strong motivation to learn single cell technologies
- a track record of publications in relevant scientific fields
Expertise in cell sorting will be an asset. Good communication skills in spoken and written English are essential.
Interested candidates should submit their application with a detailed CV, a cover letter detailing skills and motivation, and contact information for 2/3 references to Lisa Chakrabarti.