DC10 open position at UCV – Valencia

The RETORNA Consortium “Targeting RNA as an approach for treating retinal diseases” has opened a PhD position in Valencia at the Universidad Católica de Valencia.

We are searching for a candidate passioned for science and especially interested in retina diseases to join our lab group from January 2024 for a 36 months full time contract.


Details of the research project DC10

The selected candidate will be enrolled in a PhD program of 3 years at the Universidad Católica de Valencia (UCV).

DC10: retinal miRNAs as molecular targets for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa (RP)

Host supervisorDr. Javier Sancho-Pelluz (Universidad Católica de Valencia, Spain)

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a heterogeneous group of inherited diseases that damages photoreceptors and leads to blindness. Gene therapy is the approach that has had the best effect to date to treat RP. However, this type of approach requires individualized and tailor-made patient treatment, due to the great heterogeneity of mutations that we found.

Objectives: The main objective of the present project is to carry out a comparative study of the profile of miRNAs in aqueous humor of RP and healthy patients and to compare them with the retinal miRNoma in an animal model, the rd10 mouse, and its healthy counterpart. After the comparative study, those miRNAs that are altered in human and animal models will be chosen and used as possible molecular targets.

Approach: The miRNoma of patients and animals will be sequenced and analyzed. Matching deregulated miRNAs will be added to rd10 retinal organotypic cultures. The combination with the best results will proceed to the in vivo phase of the study: subretinal injections in rd10 mice.

Expected Results:

1. miRNoma of RP patients and animal model for RP.

2. Selection of deregulated miRNAs in the disease.

3. Potential RNA therapy.


Eligibity criterias

  • be of any nationality
  • possess a MSc degree in fields related to the project research
  • not to possess a PhD degree
  • not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Spain for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.
  • must comply with the following mobility rule: researchers are required to undertake trans-national mobility (i.e., move from one country to another) and participate in all the activities foreseen by the project when taking up the appointment (trainings, summer courses, annual meetings, lectures, participation in conferences, public activities).


Skills we are searching for

Read carefully ALL the requirements that the candidates must have. All the requirements are equally important:

  • have MSc level training in the fields related to the project
  • possess scientific skills and research experience related to the DC10 project, among others:
  1. cell culture
  2. experience in animal handling: DC should possess already or agree to attend a course on animal handling Function A, B and C as it will be required during the experiments
  3. biology lab techniques
  4. scientific background
  • possess a good working level of English: candidates must demonstrate during the interview a good ability to understand and express themselves in both written and spoken English, sufficiently high to fully benefit from the experience.
  • Spanish language is not mandatory but highly recommended in order to integrate better and faster into the Spanish culture
  • team work: we are searching for candidates that feel confortable working in group in the lab with the other 4 colleagues in common projects and sharing experiments and results, learning from one another.
  • be highly motivated to participate in the 3 year programme and commit to obtain the PhD degree
  • be available and agree with travelling in the RETORNA consortium for the foreseen secondments in other partners’ laboratories
  • be able to work autonomously when needed
  • have initiative and be pro-active
  • previous experience in working in labs will be highly apreciated
  • love or feel interest/curiosity for the Spanish culture



RETORNA Doctoral candidate  will be employed according to the rules for Doctoral Candidates in MSCA Doctoral Network and the general regulations of the hosting institution.

The monthly financial package will include the following researcher allowances:

1) Living allowance

2) Mobility allowance

3) Family allowance if applicable.

The full-time gross annual salary amounts to € 34.363,56 (family allowance will be calculated only if applicable).

The guaranteed PhD funding is for 36 months and will start in January 2024.


Other benefits:

The selected candidate, together with other 9 DCs that have been selected, will benefit from a large variety of activities foreseen for them with costs covered by the Project. DCs at RETORNA will be provided with a unique multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral training. First and foremost, DCs will be trained as scientists, each of them in their host institution, at their research secondments, and through local and network wide events. Next, thanks to the partnership between academic and non-academic entities, DCs will receive multi-sectoral inputs from both worlds. This will happen via lectures and workshops in our varied training program.


Documents required 

Interested candidates should submit the following documents via email to andreea.craciun@ucv.es, indicating in the e-mail title “RETORNA – DC10 application nov. 2023”:

  • a detailed CV, including – if applicable – relevant publications
  • a motivation letter specific for DC10 project, indicating why you wish to conduct this research project
  • transcripts of bachelor and master and the degrees
  • two references contact (name, surname, e-mail, working position)
  • certificate of animal handling if any
  • English certificate if any

All documents must be named as “type of document Name Surname” (i.e. Motivation letter Andreea Craciun”, “CV Andreea Craciun”)

Deadline: 10th of December 2023

Selection process

The selection process will foreseen the following steps:

1.  Eligibility: the RETORNA recruitment committee will check that each application is complete and that applicants fulfil the eligibility criteria described in the previous sections.

2. Evaluation: each eligible application will be assessed by the principal investigator who will select up to four candidates per position for the following steps:

a. Online interviews: online interviews will be scheduled, in person interview will be organized where possible. Short-listed candidates will be invited for an online interview with the supervisor responsible for the research project. At least one member of the recruitment committee will attend the online interviews.

b. Selection results: our recruitment committee will notify short-listed candidates of the results.

c. Hiring process and enrollment: the selected candidates will be put in touch with the principal investigator and the HR Department of the Universidad Católica de Valencia to initiate the hiring procedure and enrollment.

Applicants who have not been successful but who have received a positive evaluation will be put on a waiting list to cover possible withdraws and future positions.

Recruitment calendar

The calendar can suffer slightly changes 

    • Deadline for applications: 26th of November, extended until the 10th of December 2023
    • Eligibility and Evaluation: 11th of December  2023
    • Online Interviews: 12th-18th of December 2023
    • Notification to candidates: 18th of December 2023
    • Hiring process: December 2023 – January 2024
    • Start date of the PhD: January 2024