Ph.D. Candidate Host-Microbiome Interactions in Multicellular Models of Inflammatory Diseases

Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: ;

Are you fascinated by host-microbiome interactions and excited by creating a state-of-the-art multi-cellular in vitro model for unraveling the crosstalk between gut microbiota, immune and neuronal cells? Then this may be the job for you!

We are looking for a PhD candidate to create a neuron- and immune-competent gut physiomimetic system and use it to determine the influence of bacteria, early life nutrients, and inflammatory stimuli on the barrier function, immune and neuronal activities in the context of inflammatory diseases. This position is a collaborative project between the Swammerdam Institute of Life Sciences at University of Amsterdam and Tytgat Institute for Liver and Intestinal Research of the Amsterdam UMC location AMC.

You will be embedded in the Molecular Biology and Microbial Food Safety group (led by Prof. Dr. Stanley Brul) at Swammerdam Institute of Life Sciences and Gut Research group (led by Prof. Dr. Wouter de Jonge) at Tytgat Institute for Liver and Intestinal Research at the AMC.

What are you going to do?  

You will mainly focus on implementing animal-free models to study the interplay between microbes, intestinal epithelium, immune and neuron cells under different nutritional and inflammatory conditions reflecting early life development, inflammatory bowel diseases, and irritable bowel syndrome. During your PhD, you will establish and optimize microphysiological systems to coculture intestinal epithelium, sensory neurons, and immune cells, and use those in connection to cohorts from clinical trials. You will characterize the molecular, cellular, and morphological behavior of cells in the systems. Using these systems, you will determine the influence of bacteria, early life nutrients, and inflammatory stimuli on the barrier function, immune responses, and neuronal (hyper)activities. 

Tasks and responsibilities
•    complete a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years;
•    work collaboratively with technician to develop coculture system of intestinal epithelial cells, sensory neurons,

     and/or immune cells based on the available GUMI system;
•    perform your experiments in a systematic and well controlled manner and accurately keep the records in the

     accredited electrical lab notebook;
•    communicate your work in both group meetings;
•    assist in teaching and supervise BSc/MSc students during their research internship;
•    participate in the Faculty of Science PhD training program.

What do you have to offer?

•    a Master degree in Biomedical Sciences, Immunology, Cell Biology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology,

     Pharmacology, Biochemistry, or closely related fields;
•    proficient in primary cell culture (e.g., organoids, iPSCs, neuron and immune cells);
•    hands-on experience on one of the following techniques: 3D cell culture, gut-on-a-chip, fluorescent imaging,

     FACS analysis;
•    problem-solving mindset and are able to perform team-oriented as well as independent work;
•    a team player with good communication;
•    fluent in English, both written and spoken.

You will get the opportunity to
•    build a network as part of two interdisciplinary groups;
•    learn state-of-the-art technologies;
•    present your work at national and international meetings.

What can we offer you?

The appointment will be on a temporary basis for a period of 4 years (the initial appointment will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it can be extended for a total duration of 4 years) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. You are also expected to assist in teaching of undergraduates and master students. 

Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from € 2.770 in the first year to € 3.539 in the fourth year of your appointment(scale P). The Collective Employment Agreement (CAO) of the Dutch Universities is applicable. 


More information about this position and our groups can be obtained from Dr. Jianbo Zhang , prof. Dr. Stanley Brul  or prof. Dr. Wouter J. de Jonge .

About us 

The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain. 

The Swammerdam Institute of Life Sciences (SILS) is one of the Faculty of Science’s largest institutes. Its approximately 240 scientists and staff members work in 17 research groups that perform excellent research centred on four Themes: Cell & Sytems Biology, Neurosciences, Microbiology and Green Life Sciences.

Since June 2018, the two academic hospitals AMC and VUmc have merged to form Amsterdam UMC . With over 16,000 people, the two locations of Amsterdam UMC work together to provide good and accessible care as well as top-notch research .

Gut Research is the research group headed by prof. Dr. Wouter de Jonge withing the Tytgat Institute for Liver and Intestinal Research of the Amsterdam UMC location AMC. The group focusses on understanding more of the mechanisms of functional and inflammatory intestinal diseases and has EN-ISO15189:2012 accredited facilities (Dutch Accreditation Council, M304).

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Job application

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 1 October 2023. We aim to invite potential candidates from early October onward for selection interviews.

Applications should include the following information (all files should be submitted in one single pdf file):

•    a letter of motivation;
•    a detailed CV including the months (not just years) when referring to your education and work experience;
•    the names and contact information of two references, (no letters of recommendation are required at this stage)

     ideally including your master thesis supervisor.

Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.

A knowledge security check can be part of the selection procedure.
(for details: National knowledge security guidelines ).

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

No agencies please.

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