PhD Candidate | Redirecting cardiac wound healing towards regeneration | 1.0 FTE

Updated: 5 months ago
Deadline: 04 Jun 2023

18 May 2023
Job Information

Maastricht University (UM)
Research Field

Medical sciences
Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

Application Deadline

4 Jun 2023 - 21:59 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Not Applicable
Hours Per Week

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

Adult cardiomyocytes are terminally differentiated cells, with a very low rate of proliferation in adult mammals. During normal wound healing after myocardial infarction, this low proliferation rate prevents regeneration of the lost cardiac tissue, shifting the balance towards a massive fibrotic response. Therefore, investigations aiming to redirect the wound healing process away from scar formation, into the direction of cardiac regeneration have high scientific and societal potential.

Previous research has shown that several signaling pathways, including WNT and TGF-beta signaling, are associated with reduced scar formation and induction of cardiac regeneration in zebrafish and new-born mice. However, inhibiting the fibrotic response is not without risk, as it may compromise the mechanical integrity of the infarct area and contribute to dilatation of the ventricles.

This PhD position is part of a recently funded ZonMW Open competition project entitled “The NEOHEART study: redirecting the wound healing after myocardial infarction towards cardiac regeneration by combining mechanical and pharmacological support”. This project is a collaboration between researchers from Leiden UMC, TU Eindhoven and Maastricht University, combining expertise in cell biology, biomaterials and pharmacology. The PhD student will benefit from this synergistic to be successful in completing this project.

The novelty of this project is that we will combine pharmacological stimulation of cardiac regeneration with mechanical support at the site of the infarct, to avoid dilatation of the ventricles or even rupture of the infarct area. To this end, we will develop a supramolecular fibrous mesh material that combines mechanical support of the infarct area with drug-eluting properties. This approach allows achieving pharmacologically relevant concentrations of drugs in the infarct area, without excessive systemic exposure that could cause side effects. The pharmacological and mechanical interventions will be tested in 3-dimensional co-cultures of cardiomyocytes and fibroblasts and on heart slices, before proof of concept is obtained in relevant animal models of MI. The PhD student located at UM will specifically focus on optimizing the 3-dimensional co-cultures and the testing of substances that promote the cycle of dedifferentiation, proliferation and redifferentiation required for regeneration.

Further details about the project can be found here: 

Specific Requirements

Are you excited to work in an international project team for an origination that is of societal significance? Are you self-motivated, curious and interested in research?
Do you have the skills required to become an excellent researcher in your field? Then a PhD position at CARIM might be the challenge you are looking for.

Candidates will be selected on the basis of the requirements outlined below. To be considered, candidates should make sure that their application demonstrates how they meet these requirements:

We are looking for a PhD-candidate with the following qualifications: 

  • A MSc. degree in Biomedical Sciences, Molecular Life Sciences or a related field is required;
  • You have a real researcher’s mentality: open-minded, curious, enthusiastic, inquisitive and accurate;
  • Excellent scientific English writing and presentation skills are needed to work effectively within our challenging multidisciplinary research team;
  • You have critical thinking and problem solving skills, you are flexible, can set priorities and show ethical conduct;
  • A theoretical background in- and affinity with stem cell biology and pharmacology is an advantage;
  • Hands-on experience with common laboratory techniques such as cell culture, RT-PCR, Western blotting, and immunocytochemistry would work in your favor.

Additional Information

We offer a rewarding career at a young university in the heart of Europe, with a distinctly global perspective and a strong focus on innovative research and education.
We provide a stimulating, collaborative and interdisciplinary work environment with excellent opportunities for professional and personal development.
Maastricht University has an excellent international reputation, and Maastricht itself is a beautiful, open-minded city located in the center of Western Europe.

  • We offer a 4-year full-time appointment as a Ph.D. candidate. The first year will be a probation period; after a positive assessment, the position will be extended for another 3 years.  Start date of the position is August / September 2023.
  • Remuneration will be according to standard salary levels for PhD students starting with a salary of € 2,541 with a yearly growth to € 3,247 gross a month (based on a full-time appointment).
  • Each year the standard salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% of the yearly gross income.
  • We offer an attractive package of fringe benefits such as a reduction on collective health insurance, substantial leave arrangements, an optional model for designing a personalized benefits package, sports facilities that staff may use at a modest charge, and application for attractive fiscal arrangements for employees from abroad.
  • You have to be willing to move to (the vicinity of) Maastricht. If you do not already live in Maastricht (or its direct surroundings), you will be eligible for an allowance for moving costs and relocation reimbursement.

The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website  > About UM > Working at UM .

Selection process

You can respond to this vacancy by sending your motivation letter and CV (as pdf file), stating the vacancy number AT2023.233, by email to:

Maastricht University is committed to promoting and nurturing a diverse and inclusive community. We believe that diversity in our staff and student population contributes to the quality of research and education at UM, and strive to enable this through inclusive policies and innovative projects led by teams of staff and students. We encourage you to apply for this position.

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Additional comments

For more information regarding this vacancy, you can contact:
Dr. W. Matthijs Blankesteijn, e-mail

Interview dates: The interviews will take place in week 23 and 24, please indicate any days on which you are not available.

 The preferred starting date of this PhD-project is August/September 2023.

 To apply for this vacancy, press the button ‘apply now’ to see the application procedure.

Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
Maastricht University
Postal Code
6229 ER
Universiteitssingel 50

Where to apply



Minderbroedersberg 4
Postal Code

6211 LK

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