Postdoc position in Optogenetic control of cell division and cell fate in C. elegans (1.0 FTE)

Updated: 3 months ago

Print this page

Postdoc position in Optogenetic control of cell division and cell fate in C. elegans (1.0 FTE)

Postdoc position in Optogenetic control of cell division and cell fate in C. elegans (1.0 FTE)

Job description
Become part of the new research consortium IMAGINE! (Innovative Microscopy And Guidance of cells In their Native Environment). Our programme aims to transform cell biology by developing and applying advanced microscopy and real-time molecular manipulation techniques to study cells in their natural complexity and diversity. The consortium will form a unique and highly interdisciplinary team that combines cell, organoid, and tissue biology, as well as chemical and optical cell manipulation to study cell behaviour in development, cancer, and targeted drug delivery.
In this post-doctoral research position in the group of Sander van den Heuvel at Utrecht University, you will develop methods for laser-light mediated control of the orientation of cell division in the animal model C. elegans. In follow up studies, you will determine how the division orientation affects the fate and division pattern of daughter cells, based in part on super-resolution microscopy. You will work together with the groups within the IMAGINE! project who also work on these systems and contribute to similar analyses in vivo (In particular the Kapitein Lab of Utrecht University). The overall goal is to acquire automated real-time (optogenetic) control strategies to steer processes within native cells in their tissue environment, as an important strategy for dissecting the molecular mechanisms and underlying principles of animal development.


We are looking for a highly motivated and creative candidate to join us in this unique project. We would like you to bring:

  • A PhD degree (or equivalent) in Biology, Biomedical Sciences or a related field;
  • high affinity for molecular biology;
  • previous experience with independent research, and preferably with genetic model organisms and advanced microscopy;
  • training in scientific writing, communication and presentation in English;
  • motivation to work on a challenging project in a multidisciplinary and international research team.
If you feel that this role is the perfect match, but you do not yet meet all the qualifications, we also welcome you to apply.


We offer:

  • a position for a year, that can be prolonged after a positive evaluation;
  • embedding in a great team of top Life Sciences researchers;
  • the full-time gross salary, depending on previous qualifications and experience, ranges between €2,960 and €4,670 (according to the Collective Labor Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for full-time employment);
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.
In addition to the employment conditions laid down in the CAO for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. For example, there are agreements on professional development, leave arrangements and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment via the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we like to encourage you to continue to grow.
For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University .

About the organization
Utrecht University is a friendly and ambitious university at the heart of an ancient city. We love to welcome new scientists to our city – a thriving cultural hub that is consistently rated as one of the world’s happiest cities. We are renowned for our innovative interdisciplinary research and our emphasis on inspirational research and excellent education. We are equally well-known for our informal atmosphere and the can-do mentality of our people. This lively and inspiring academic environment attracts professors, researchers and PhD candidates from all over the globe, making both the University and the Faculty of Science a vibrant international and wonderfully diverse community.
At the Faculty of Science , there are 6 departments to make a fundamental connection with: Biology, Chemistry, Information and Computing Sciences, Mathematics, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Physics. Each of these is made up of distinct institutes that work together to focus on answering some of humanity’s most pressing problems. More fundamental still are the individual research groups – the building blocks of our ambitious scientific projects. Find out more about the Faculty of Science .
You will be embedded in the Developmental Biology division which focuses on the formation and maintenance of specialized cell types, tissues, and adult animals from single cells. The emphasis is on discovering conceptually novel molecular mechanisms and general principles that underly normal development with relevance to carcinogenesis. The division includes five research groups, who work closely together in studies of cell proliferation and differentiation, cell and tissue polarity, cell competition, translational regulation and reproduction.
You, as a post-doc, will work in the group of Sander van den Heuvel . In addition to IMAGINE! partners (including Kapitein and Akhmanova group members on the same floor), you will daily interact with researchers in the Boxem , Ruijtenberg , and Suijkerbuijk groups, and will become part of the highly interactive research environment of the Institute of Biodynamics , as well as the Cell and Developmental Biology community at the Utrecht University campus.
This position is one of many PhD and postdoc positions available as part of the gravitational programme IMAGINE! (Innovative Microscopy And Guidance of cells In their Native Environment). IMAGINE! is an interdisciplinary programme combining cell, organoid, and tissue biology, as well as chemical and optical cell manipulation and analysis to study cell behaviour in development and cancer, and targeted drug delivery. Participating institutes are based throughout the Netherlands in Utrecht, Amsterdam, Delft, Rotterdam, Nijmegen, and Eindhoven. For more information on the individual positions, please visit the IMAGINE! programme website .

Additional information
If you have any questions about this position, please contact Prof Sander van den Heuvel via
Do you have a question about the application procedure? Please send an email to .
For more information, please visit working at the Faculty of Science . 


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.
To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation via the 'apply' button. Reference letters are optional but appreciated. Data Privacy note: Applications will be shared between participating institutes of IMAGINE! for the purpose and the duration of the recruitment process.
If you are interested in several positions of IMAGINE! we encourage you to apply for multiple positions (please indicate this by including the job title(s) and associated institute(s) in your application letter).
We highly encourage candidates from diverse backgrounds and nationalities to apply. We strive to create an open, diverse, and inclusive work environment for everyone. People of any gender identity, ethnicity or sexual orientation are welcome.
If this specific opportunity isn’t for you, but you know someone else who may be interested, please forward this vacancy to them.
Some connections are fundamental – Be one of them

The application deadline is
Forward vacancy


Facebook Follow on Facebook Twitter Follow on Twitter
View or Apply

Similar Positions