Junior Research Scientist in biophysical and systemic modeling of living systems


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INRAE presentation

The French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment (INRAE) is a public research establishment under the dual authority of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Research.

INRAE is recruiting researchers by open competition and offering permanent position.

It is a major player in research and innovation created on 1st of January 2020. INRAE is a research institute resulting from the merger of INRA and IRSTEA. It is a community of 12,000 people with more than 200 research units and 42 experimental units located throughout France.

The institute is among the world leaders in agricultural and food sciences, in plant and animal sciences, and is 11th in the world in ecology and environment. INRAE’s main goal is to be a key player in the transitions necessary to address major global challenges. In the face of the increase in population, climate change, scarcity of resources and decline in biodiversity, the institute develops solutions for multiperformance agriculture, high quality food and sustainable management of resources and ecosystems.

Work environment, missions and activities

The MaIAGE Research Unit ("Applied Mathematics and Computer Science from the Genome to the Environment") at INRAE develops original mathematical and computational methods for generic scope or for specific biological issues.

You will be part of the BioSys (Systems Biology) team, whose objective is to develop mathematical and algorithmic methods to model, analyse, and simulate complex biological systems, ranging from intracellular processes to the scale of an organism in its environment.

The team's work mobilises complementary skills in Engineering Sciences (automatic control, scientific computation, image processing) and Applied Mathematics, in particular in fields such as the analysis of dynamical systems (continuous or discrete, deterministic or stochastic) and optimisation (convex or non-convex). A strong and structuring specificity of the team is to work resolutely on questions centered around concrete biological objects, through interdisciplinary partnerships in both Life Sciences and Formal and Quantitative Sciences.

You will be tasked to contribute to one of the major lines of research of the BioSys team, relating to the development of multiscale models of living organisms. The recent introduction by the team of the Resource Balance Analysis (RBA) method has made it possible to remove certain limitations of existing approaches and thus pave the way for such models. Indeed, by providing a mathematical framework predicting satisfactorily the functioning of cells at the infra and cellular scales, this method has the potential to be generalised to a whole organism, as we have recently shown on a simplified model of the plant. Multi-scale modelling of living organisms is a central issue in (systems) biology. In this rich context, one of your missions will be to propose innovative approaches, which integrate, within systemic models, the biophysical constraints that act on the different subsystems. There are many questions, relating for example to the fine coupling between the systemic models of the different organs and the biophysical models of the transport between these organs.

Beyond these first problems, it is more generally a question of being interested in the strong intricacies existing between the biophysical constraints on the one hand, certain biological mechanisms on the other hand, and the control by the "program" of the cell (or organ). Beyond the development of specific multi-scale models, the combination of systemic and biophysical modelling is rich, and the possibilities for methodological research are numerous. Depending on your scientific background, they may concern the analysis of dynamical systems, which here are often of a hybrid nature and of (very) large dimensions. We can also cite the questions related to the model calibration, fundamental in systems biology and central to the team, all the more in view of the current developments of new technologies of observation of living organisms (omics data, high-throughput phenotyping , 3D+time microscopy, etc.). Finally, the multi-scale modelling of living organisms opens up important questions and opportunities in the fields calling for the link between genotypes and phenotypes.

In your missions, you will be encouraged to get involved in collaborative projects, combining methodological developments and concrete applications.

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Candidates must have a PhD or equivalent.
A PhD in applied mathematics or engineering science, with a strong interest in modelling biological systems would be appreciated. A solid experience in the analysis of dynamical systems (whether ODE, PDE, discrete systems or hybrid systems) is highly recommended.
A first experience in modelling would be appreciated; especially the attention brought to the interpretation, the validation or even the calibration of the produced model(s).

Candidates should have a good command of English, and long-term international experience would also be desirable. Successful candidates who have not yet acquired this experience abroad will be strongly encouraged to do so after their probationary period (1st year)

INRAE's life quality

By joining our teams, you benefit from:

- 30 days of annual leave + 15 days "Reduction of Working Time" (for a full time);
- parenting support: CESU childcare, leisure services;
- skills development systems: training, career advise;
- social support: advice and listening, social assistance and loans;
- holiday and leisure services: holiday vouchers, accommodation at preferential rates;
sports and cultural activities;
- collective catering.

Offer reference

  • Profile number: CR-2021-MATHNUM-4
  • Corps: CRCN
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 21

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