New Postdoctoral position in Philosophy of Biology
and/or Philosophy of Medicine
and/or Conceptual/Theoretical Biology
Thomas Pradeu’s ERC Starting Grant Project
“Immunity, Development, and the Microbiota: Understanding the Continuous Construction of Biological Identity”
The University of Bordeaux and the CNRS seek candidates for a two-year postdoctoral position in Philosophy of Biology and/or Philosophy of Medicine and/or Conceptual/theoretical Biology, in the context of Thomas Pradeu’s ERC Starting Grant project, “Immunity, Development and the Microbiota: Understanding the Continuous Construction of Biological Identity” (IDEM, ERC#637647, 2015-2020).
Postdoc topic: Any topic related to the microbiota, immunology, and/or development, with a strong conceptual, theoretical, and/or philosophical dimension.
Location: Immunology lab, CNRS & University of Bordeaux, Pellegrin Hospital, Bordeaux, France.
Project’s PI: Thomas Pradeu, head of Conceptual Immunology team.
Duration: Two years.
Start date: September 1st, 2018, or October 1st, 2018.
Requirements: PhD in Philosophy of Biology, or Philosophy of Medicine, or Philosophy of Science more generally, with a strong interest in biology and/or medicine (and, if possible, a degree in biology or medicine), OR a PhD in Biological or Biomedical sciences, with a strong interest in conceptual and theoretical investigation. A good knowledge of immunology will be an asset, but it is not necessary.
Application deadline: May 14th, 2018.
Website: all details about IDEM project and the postdoc position can be found here.
Contact: Thomas Pradeu,
Overview of project
The problem of biological identity (what counts as one individual organism, and what makes each individual organism the “same” though it constantly changes through time?) has a long history both in philosophy and in science. Recent data coming from immunology, microbiology and developmental biology may revolutionize our conception of the construction of biological identity through time, by showing that this construction depends crucially on environmental factors and, most importantly, on a constant dialogue with resident microorganisms (the “microbiota”).
IDEM aims at exploring how research done on the microbiota at the interface between developmental biology, microbiology, and immunology impacts our conception of biological identity, and providing a new understanding of the way living things are continuously constructed through time and interact with their biotic environment.
Details on project axes: https://www.immuconcept.org/erc-idem/
- IDEM research is done mainly at the University of Bordeaux, France, and more precisely in the Immunology Lab, which is part of the CNRS, the College of Health Sciences, and the Pellegrin Hospital (the main hospital in Bordeaux). Though IDEM’s focus is first and foremost on the domain of philosophy of biology, it will benefit greatly from its direct environment, which is one of the most important communities of biologists and medical doctors in France.
- Our immunology lab investigates four main domains, each represented by one team: the role of gamma-delta T cells in surveying bodily barriers; autoimmune diseases; oncoimmunology; and conceptual biology.
- The postdoc will have the opportunity to spend 6 months in a partner scientific lab (the cost of this stay will be covered by the project grant), and/or to do some experimental work in our lab.
- More generally, a unique feature of the IDEM environment is the opportunity to be directly involved in scientific work, and even to do some empirical work, via extensive interactions with experimental biologists and medical doctors, both in the ImmunoConcEpT Lab and at the hospital.
- Thomas Pradeu’s group is currently constituted of 7 people:
- PI: Thomas PRADEU (Senior Investigator at CNRS, philosophy of biology and conceptual immunology)
- Lynn CHIU (Postdoc ERC IDEM, philosophy of biology)
- Paôline LAURENT (PhD student, University of Bordeaux, Immunology)
- Maël LEMOINE (Full Professor in Philosophy of Medicine, University of Bordeaux)
- Jean-François MOREAU (MD, Professor in Medicine, Bordeaux hospital & University of Bordeaux)
- Elena RONDEAU (PhD student, University of Bordeaux, Cancer immunology & philosophy of biology)
- Derek SKILLINGS (Postdoc ERC IDEM, philosophy of biology)
- The group offers an extremely dynamic research environment, with two monthly seminars, many international visitors, interdisciplinary reading groups and seminars, etc. (see our webpage for more details).
- The group works within the wider context of the recently created Institute for Philosophy in Biology and Medicine (PhilInBioMed), which is coordinated by Thomas Pradeu, and has developed an international network gathering interdisciplinary institutes combining biology, and medicine, and philosophy.
- The recruited postdoc will have excellent working conditions, including a desk and all office facilities, online access to journals, the possibility to be involved in lab experiments, funds to participate in international conferences and workshops, and funds to organize local events.
Practical aspects and requirements
- The recruited postdoc will have a PhD in Philosophy of Biology, or Philosophy of Medicine, or Philosophy of Science more generally, with a strong interest in biology and/or medicine (and, if possible, a degree in biology or medicine), OR a PhD in Biology, with a strong interest in conceptual and theoretical investigation. A good knowledge of immunology will be an asset, but it is not necessary.
- The recruited postdoc will be expected to participate in seminars, reading groups, and other aspects of the research life.
- The recruited postdoc will be expected to publish several papers, including papers written in collaboration with scientists (at least 2 co-authored papers with scientists and/or philosophers, and 2 single-authored papers over the two years of the postdoc). A major aim of IDEM is the publication of co-authored papers in high-profile scientific journals.
- Residency in Bordeaux is mandatory.
- To increase interactions both within the group and with other scientists, everyday presence in the lab from 9am to 5pm is mandatory (except of course when traveling or visiting a partner lab).
- Salary: depending on the previous experience of the candidate, the gross salary will be between €2,500 and €3,800 per month.
- Vacation: The postdoc will be entitled to a total of 44 days’ vacation per year.
- Language: IDEM will be conducted in English. Fluency in French is therefore not mandatory. (For those interested in learning French, CNRS and the University of Bordeaux offer French courses).
- Healthcare: basic health insurance (general social security system) is covered. This covers around 70% of the insured person’s medical expenses and those of their family. Taking up a complementary health insurance is recommended, but not obligatory. France offers excellent healthcare.
- Local support: the Welcome Center for International Researchers of the University of Bordeaux provides support for researchers to help locate housing without a guarantor, to help set up banking, and to ease the move and transition to France through frequent social events, support groups, and tax services.
- Interested candidates may contact Lynn Chiu, currently postdoctoral researcher in the project.
Applications (in English) should include:
- a cover letter;
- a CV;
- a list of publications;
- a sample of written work of up to 10,000 words (it can be a published paper, a chapter, a draft, etc.);
- a description of planned research activity of approximately 3,000 words.
Applications, in one PDF document, will be sent by email to Thomas Pradeu
(before May 14th, 2018). Hard copy applications are not accepted.
Additionally, two confidential letters of reference should be sent to the same address from the referees directly.
The CNRS is an equal opportunity employer and encourages women to apply for positions.