PhD positions in Molecular Immunology (2 x 1.0 FTE)

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 15 May 2024

Von Willebrand Factor (VWF) plays a pivotal role in blood coagulation, with its secretion from Weibel-Palade bodies (WPBs) being essential for responding to vascular trauma. Dysfunctional WPB biogenesis and exocytosis are characteristic of bleeding disorders such as Von Willebrand disease. In this project, we aim to identify the organelle trafficking routes responsible for WPB formation and secretion.

This project is a collaboration between the research groups of Dr Ruben Bierings (Department of Hematology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam) and Dr Geert van den Bogaart (Department of Molecular Immunology, University of Groningen (UG)).

Two PhD positions are available, one at each institute.

The UG candidate will utilize newly developed microscopy methods, including Förster resonance energy transfer-fluorescence lifetime imaging (FRET-FLIM), to map SNARE protein trafficking to WPBs. Techniques include FRET-FLIM microscopy, mammalian cell culturing, CRISPR, and molecular cloning.
The Erasmus MC candidate will conduct biochemical assays of WPB cargo secretion and optical assays of WPB exocytosis to determine changes in secretory competence and fusion mode due to altered SNARE sorting. Techniques include high content microscopy, proteomics, total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy, shRNA library screenings, and electron microscopy.

The PhD candidates are expected to also spend research time at the other institute.

Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen (http://www.rug.nl ) enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative center of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 36,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. As one of the best research universities in Europe, the University of Groningen has joined forces with other top universities and networks worldwide to become a truly global center of knowledge.

This is a collaborative project between the Department of Molecular Immunology at the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE; www.membranetrafficking.com), and the Department of Hematology at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam (https://www.hematologyrotterdam.nl/laboratory-research/ruben-bierings ).


The successful applicant has:

  • a Master degree in one of the following expertise: molecular biology, biochemistry.
  • a good command of English (oral and written)
  • enthusiastic and a team player.
  • willing to spend research time in Rotterdam / Groningen
  • experience with mammalian cell biology and advanced microscopy approaches is an advantage.

We offer stimulating scientific environment, access of state-of-the-art devices and techniques, and a beautiful and modern working environment. Employment possibilities will also become available at spinout company from the laboratory.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

  • a salary of € 2,770 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,539 gross per month in the fourth and final year
  • a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
  • a holiday allowance of 8% of gross annual income
  • an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
  • minimum of 29 holidays and additional 12 holidays in case of full-time employment.

The successful candidate will first be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected. A PhD training program is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.

The preferred starting date is as soon as possible.



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