Offres & annonces

Offre de Thèse - Nantes

A 3-year PhD scholarship for a project on lipidomics is available at LABERCA (Oniris, France) in close
cooperation with CEISAM (Nantes University, France). The project will be starting before the end of

Proposal title: Combining NMR and MS fingerprinting for fine characterization of lipid profiles.
Application to chemical food safety issues.


The use of chemical agents in livestock production is a subject of much concern. Although prohibited
for nearly 30 years within the EU, growth promoting practices are still widely suspected.
Consequences of potential illegal use lie in food safety issues, animal welfare concerns and reduced
consumer confidence. To meet the current challenges for detecting illicit practices, ‘omics’ strategies,
in particular metabolomics, have recently been demonstrated as promising new approaches. These
investigations, based on the observation of physiological disturbances in various biological matrices,
proved the possibility to monitor biomarkers enabling high throughput determination of animal
status in terms of hormonal treatment. Very recently, the lipidome fraction was reported as a
supplementary interesting compartment to the metabolome. A preliminary study investigated lipid
profile disruptions upon hormonal treatment, with the aim of discovering alternative robust
biomarkers. It highlighted a particular class of lipids as affected, which establishes a proof of concept.
Such results justify, as a first objective of the program, to further improve the mass spectrometric
(MS)-based workflow but also to develop additional and complementary methods such as NMR, in
order to further extend and deeper characterize the perturbations and to select the most
appropriate lipid biomarkers to be monitored. Because chemical structural identification of the
biomarkers is known as the bottleneck of such “omics” related strategy, overcoming this critical step
will constitute the second objective of the program and will require combined MS and NMR
characterization of the purified fractions of interest.
The overall project objective will be achieved through the development of a global lipidomics
analytical strategy based on latest improvements which will require analytical breakthroughs related
to both the sample preparation and the detection means (innovative sample preparations
/fractionation for lipids, last generation detection approaches (both MS and NMR), accurate
identification and quantification strategies, high throughput capacities, portability...). To cover the
wide range of lipid classes and species, an efficient versatile multi-analytical platform combining
NMR and MS will be developed and validated.

This collaboration of two internationally recognized research teams in their respective MS and NMR
areas will strengthen robustness of the developed approach.

Coordination /Supervision :
Gaud Dervilly-Pinel ,Dr, HDR (LABERCA)
Patrick Giraudeau, Dr, HDR (CEISAM)

  •  Strong chemical background with a M.Sc. in Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry or equivalent
  •  Hands on experience with:
  • Purification techniques
  • Method development and advanced data analysis within chromatography massspectrometry (tandem and/or high resolution MS) or NMR
  • Experience or knowledge about one or more of the following areas will be an advantage:
  • metabolomics, multivariate data analysis 
  • Good laboratory skills
  •  Good collaboration and communication skills (written and oral English)
  •  Structured and analytical working approach

Salary and appointment terms
The salary and appointment terms are consistent with the current rules for PhD degree students. The
period of employment is 3 years.
Further information
For further information please contact the project coordinator, Dr Gaud Dervilly-Pinel

Please submit your application no later than 16th October 2015.
Applications must be submitted as one pdf file containing all materials to be given consideration. The
file must include:
  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  •  Details of Master’s results (and MSc diploma if available)
Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree, but cannot begin before having
received it.
You can read more about LABERCA and CEISAM on and

LABERCA‘s general domain of activity is the chemical food safety, in a global risk assessment perspective:
generation and interpretation of exposure and body burden data, study of the transfer and metabolism of
investigated chemicals from their sources to the consumers through the food chain. From an analytical point of
view, the two main areas of competence of the laboratory are the treatment of complex biological samples for
isolating the studied substances present at (ultra-trace)- level, and the hyphenated measurement of these
compounds by various mass spectrometric coupling techniques. Besides these targeted approaches, the
laboratory has been developing over the last 10 years an expertise in untargeted approaches (metabolomics) to
reveal biomarkers of chemical exposure. The analytical platform is considered as one of the most complete at
the national and European level (> 15 last generation MS instruments). All these activities (assays and research)
are conducted under management quality system combining accreditation (ISO17025) and certification

CEISAM has a 30-year expertise in the development of NMR methods for applications to analytical chemistry. In
particular, the EBSI group has developed innovative approaches in fast 2D NMR for the targeted and untargeted
metabolomics of biological samples. EBSI is an internationally recognized leader in its main fields of expertise,
ie. NMR isotopomics and ultrafast 2D NMR. The novel NMR methods developed at CEISAM have paved the way
towards original applications of quantitative NMR in the fields of metabolism and environment. CEISAM is
equipped with a state-of-the art NMR platform (6 spectrometers, including a 700 MHz high-field spectrometer
equipped with a cryoprobe and a sample changer dedicated to metabolomics).

LABERCA and CEISAM are highly complementary, since each of these two laboratories is a recognized specialist
in a specific technique (MS and NMR, respectively). Both of them are driven by the same leitmotiv of applying
their analytical developments to solve applicative issues on samples of metabolomics interest. Their
complementary expertise is indispensable to the success of the present project, which is a great opportunity to
develop joint efforts in the fields of lipidomics. Both laboratories are founding members of the CORSAIRE
platform (Bretagne-Pays de Loire métabolomique platform) and are members of its steering committee.

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