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Lipidomics of vernix caseosa

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, February 21, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Vernix caseosa is a white to yellowish biofilm that covers the skin of the human fetus during the last trimester of pregnancy, and usually remains present on the skin of the newborn. It is necessary for the prenatal development of the skin and its postnatal adaptation. It consists of desquamated corneocytes embedded in a lipid matrix, has antibacterial properties and exhibits a remarkable ability to heal wounds. Clinically relevant artificial substitutes are searched to help preterm infants with immature skin or patients with burn injuries or chronic wounds. In order to design an artificial vernix caseosa, it is necessary to understand its formation and chemical composition [1-4].

In this project, we want to study the complex composition of the vernix caseosa using lipidomics. First, methods based on shotgun lipidomics and HPLC-based lipidomics will be developed, taking into account the extreme complexity of the lipid mixture and the presence of highly hydrophobic compounds with long aliphatic chains. Targeted and non-targeted methods of analysis will be applied to samples representing different gestation times during the last trimester of pregnancy. State-of-art mass spectrometers will be used for the measurements. Data will be evaluated using specialized programs and statistical multivariate methods. The project promises to obtain unique data that will contribute to a better understanding of the formation and development of human skin.

How to apply

To apply for a PhD study at IOCB Prague, you must hold a Master’s degree (MSc) or the equivalent of the MSc in similar field (four or five year undergraduate degree). The application can be submitted before obtaining the Master’s degree, however, the applicant should obtain the degree within five months after the application deadline.

For more information visit our website “Call for PhD applications 2019”:

You can apply online via our application form


All general enquiries should be directed to Katerina Solcova (). Scientific enquiries can be addressed to the supervisor ().

Funding Notes

Regular monthly income of students at IOCB Prague varies depending on the faculty scholarship and supervisor's financial options.


1/ R.Míková et al., Newborn Boys and Girls Differ in the Lipid Composition of Vernix Caseosa. PLoS ONE 9(6): e99173 (2014)
2/ L.Šubčíková et al., Analysis of 1,2-diol diesters in vernix caseosa by high-performance liquid chromatography - atmospheric pressure chemical ionization mass spectrometry, J. Chromatogr. A, 1378, 8–18 (2015).
3/ A.Kalužíková et al., Cholesteryl esters of ω-(O-acyl)-hydroxy fatty acids in vernix caseosa, J. Lip. Res., 58, 1579–1590 (2017).
4/ E.Harazim et al., Nonhydroxylated 1-O-acylceramides in vernix caseosa, J. Lipid Res., 59, 2164–2173 (2018).

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