AIROPico Exchange Program

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Title: Antiviral research on Picornaviruses

Location: Rega Institute for Medical Research (KU Leuven), Leuven, Belgium

Language: English

Period: 12 months

Starting date: The position is available from November 2015 and will remain open until a suitable candidate has been found.



Description: vacancy for post-doc

AIROPico is a FP7 Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) network of 4 academic partners and 4 industrial partners dedicated to research and development in the field of human picornaviruses.

Picornaviruses such as enteroviruses, rhinoviruses and parechoviruses represent the most commonly encountered infectious agents in mankind. Despite this, prevalence, transmission and pathogenesis are still largely unknown and therapy is not available. Within the present AIROPico project, the partners combine by intersectoral exchanges the disciplines of pathogenesis, diagnostics and therapy development in order to understand disease and to develop effective antiviral treatments. 

To perform part of the AIROPico research on antiviral research, the REGA Institute for Medical Research (KU Leuven), Belgium, offers a 12 month post-doctoral position for a researcher (4-10 years' experience) who has not been working in Belgium for more than 12 months over the 3 years prior to this application.


The REGA Institute for Medical Research is a Belgian scientific establishment that is part of the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in central Belgium. The REGA Institute is an interfaculty biomedical research institute of the KU Leuven and consists of departments of medicine and pharmacology.


Project description

The antiviral research on Picornaviruses at the REGA institute is carried out in the group of Prof J. Neyts. Novel chemical entities are provided by collaborating (medicinal) chemists of various institutions around the world or by the KU Leuven Center for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3). The selected candidate will coordinate a phenotypic screening campaign to discover novel inhibitors of picornavirus replication. Next, a hit-to-lead optimization exercise, to find compounds with improved selectivity/activity and with broad-spectrum anti-picornavirus activity, will be carried out. The particular characteristics of the molecules need to be studied and the molecular mechanism of action is unravelled. This in turn leads to novel insights in the replication strategy of the virus. Relevant animal models have been developed or will be developed that allow to assess the in vivo antiviral efficacy of such inhibitors.



We are looking for a post-doctoral scientist with the experience to independently develop, introduce and apply an antiviral drug discovery program for human picornaviruses. He or she has experience with virus culture, small molecule drug discovery, molecular virology and/or in vivo efficacy. Experience in human picornavirus research would be very advantageous. The candidate should have excellent writing skills for preparation of progression reports, scientific articles and follow up funding. We are looking for an excellent team player with good communication skills to make this ambitious project a success.


Importantly, applying candidates cannot have been working or staying in Belgium for more than 12 months over the 3 years prior to this application.  


We offer

Weoffer a full-time postdoctoral fellowship for 12 months. KU Leuven offers a stimulating environment for international students. The position is available from November 2015 and will remain open until a suitable candidate has been found. 



Additional information can be obtained by contacting Professor Johan Neyts: johan.neyts(at)

Send your applications to: management(at) together with your CV, list of publications and potential referees. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">