MANNA - project 06
06hr de

miRNomics, proteomics, and lipidomics of sow’s milk exosomes

Prof. Vladimir Mrljak
University of Zagreb
Prof. Helga Sauerwein
University of Milan
Dr. Mike Salter
Porto Conte Ricerche (Italy)

TAGS: n-3:n-6 fatty acids; miRNA; exosome mimetics;



The aim of the project is to determine the miRN-ome, proteome, and the lipidome of sow’s milk exosomes at different stages of lactation, and to test the effects of feeding with different diets.

Description of the project

The Early Stage Researcher (ESR) linked to the project will characterize the miRN-ome, proteome, and the lipidome of sow’s milk exosomes derived from other MANNA projects: The ESR will receive milk samples and blood serum samples of sows and piglets from ESR1 for isolating and characterising milk exosomes by means of OMICS. The miRN-ome will be in focus to assess the miRNA composition of milk exosomes. The ESR will identify how the composition of milk exosomes is modified during the transition from the colostral until the weaning stage, and by different ratios of n-3:n-6 fatty acids in the diet, and will compare the miRNAs from milk exosomes with the one in sows’ and piglets’ serum samples. By relating the miRNA-omes to growth performance, immune response and microbiome of the piglets (ESR1), the miRNAs associated with health and growth performance will be identified opening the perspective of developing miRNA supplements e.g. by “exosome-mimetics”.

The ESR will be enrolled by the University of Zagreb ( under the supervision of Prof. Vladimir Mrljak and will be awarded a Double Doctorate degree in co-tutelle with the University of Bonn (, under the supervision of Prof. Helga Sauerwein. The supervision team is completed a non academic supervisor from Dr Mike Salter, from AbAgri ( UK.

The research will involve secondments to the University of Milan (, to Porto Conte Ricerche (, and AbAgri (, UK.

The selected candidate will participate in the network’s training activities and work placements in the laboratories of the participating academic and industrial partners.

Eligibility criteria are indicated at admission rules page

For the specific ESR 6 position, it is essential that the candidate has:

  • a degree in Veterinary Medicine

It will be considered advantageous if the candidate has:

  • experience of scientific research in biology, biotechnology or life sciences

The University of Zagreb requires the following additional documents at the time of enrolment in their PhD programme

  • Application for enrolment as a PhD student
  • CV
  • Personal identification number (mandatory)
  • Name of Faculty/University or previous graduated degrees with degree title, place and year
  • Motivation letter
  • Outstanding study results (top 20% scores) during Bachelor and Master degrees
  • Two written letters of recommendation from previous or current supervisors
  • All foreign students enrolled in the study must have regulation approved residence in the Republic of Croatia and regulation approved health insurance within the Republic of Croatia

Proof of evidence for degree titles

English language proficiency certificate

Certificate in English proficiency – CEFR for Languages – B2 (Vantage or upper intermediate).


Salary and other benefits for the ESR enrolled at the University of Zagreb are according to EU-standards for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions and national regulations. The living allowance will be €3032.25 per month (gross amount-subject to employers costs, as well as employees tax and insurance) and appointed ESR will be eligible to pay local tax and insurance. Additional benefits are possible in the case of family allowances which will be €500 per month.

Each ESR will also have a Research and Training allowance which will be managed through the University of Zagreb. This will cover the participation of researchers in training activities;

  • expenses related to research costs;
  • tuition fees (where applicable).
  • Visa, residency card for the recruited researcher and their family (where applicable)

A mobility allowance is also available. This will contribute to mobility related expenses of the ESR. The amount of the mobility allowance is specified in Table 1 of the MSCA Work Programme and for calls 2018-2020 and will amount to €600 per month.

Required documentation

Please refer to the general required documentation at

Application process

The deadline for application is 21st May 2018 through the completion of the form under the section ‘send your application‘.