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New doctoral training network to tackle inflammation in cardiovascular diseases – recruitment now open

Two research groups at the University of Eastern Finland are part of the MIRACLE network, a new European doctoral network training researchers to lead innovation in the field of inflammatory regulation in cardiometabolic disease. The MIRACLE network is funded by the EU Horizon programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions.

New technologies are quickly improving our knowledge of how cells work in disease, especially with the realisation that inflammation is a key issue in many long-term illnesses. This has sparked a lot of interest in creating new treatments to reduce inflammation. This shift is creating a demand for researchers who are very skilled and can easily handle new discoveries, large amounts of information, and fresh ways of tackling the problems that come with long-lasting inflammation in diseases. The MIRACLE network brings together leading academic groups and non-academic parties including companies and knowledge societies. 

12 doctoral candidates will be trained within the network. Two of them will be positioned in Professor Seppo Ylä-Herttuala’s and Professor Minna Kaikkonen-Määttä’s research groups at the A. I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences at the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio. 

In Ylä-Herttuala’s group, the project will focus on inflammatory cells, gene expression profiles and their role in the pathogenesis and new treatment options for atherosclerosis and ischemic diseases. Special emphasis will be put on the development of targeted gene therapy-based approaches. 

In Kaikkonen-Määttä’s group, the project involves a comprehensive analysis of single-cell sequencing data to map the epigenetic and gene regulatory networks of macrophages across various tissues associated with cardiometabolic diseases. By integrating this information with genome-wide association study (GWAS) datasets, the project aims to understand the genetic basis of susceptibility to cardiometabolic diseases and inflammation via macrophage function. The research is directed towards identifying new potential therapeutic targets. 

The MIRACLE network is coordinated by Professor Menno de Winther at Amsterdam University Medical Center. Also involved in the network are Maastricht University, the University of Lille, the University of Bonn, KU Leuven, the University of Bern, the University of California San Diego, the companies BiomimX, NanoString and AstraZeneca, as well as communication agency Science Matters and European Atherosclerosis Society. 

Applications for doctoral candidate positions within the MIRACLE network are open on EURAXESS and at the MIRACLE website until 31 March, 2024.