PhD in Quantitative Cell and Developmental Biology

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 06 Feb 2023

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The Faculty of Science / the Institute for Biology is looking for a :

PhD in Quantitative Cell and Developmental Biology

Vacancy number: 23-006

Key responsibilities 
The PhD project will be part of an ongoing interdisciplinary, NWO-funded Vici-project that is unraveling how modifications of the extracellular matrix, as they can occur for example near tumors, can modify the structure of new blood vessel networks. As a developmental cell biologist, you will work closely together with mathematical modelers and an ongoing PhD student in developmental cell biology. You will attempt to falsify the predictions of the mathematical models in the wetlab through imaging of cell cultures and zebrafish. Based on cycles of iteratively refined mathematical models that you will put to the test experimentally, you will unravel chemical and mechanical aspects of blood vessel growth and cell-ECM interactions, and prepare your insights for publication in the biological or biophysical literature and contribute to biomathematical publications.

The team carries out mathematical biology research in close interaction with our experimental lab. More information about the group can be found on . The work will be embedded in the Multiscale Mathematical Biology team at the Institute of Biology Leiden and at the Mathematical Institute, both at the Faculty of Science at Leiden University.  For more information about the institutes see: and .

Experimental techniques may include:

  • Cell culture, lab-on-a-chip, zebrafish, in vitro and in vivo imaging using time-lapse microscopy, quantitative reflection microscopy, TIRF, 4D imaging using a VAST system
  • Fluorescent imaging of dynamic cell behavior, cell morphology and ECM characteristics in vitro and in vivo under the influence of a range of pharmacological and genetic experimental interventions, including ECM characteristics such as stiffness, matrix orientation and acidity using imaging techniques, which will lead to insight in conjunction with the model;
  • Active participation in image analysis, digital annotation and mathematical modeling of the results.

Selection Criteria 

  • Master’s degree in cell biology, biophysics, imaging or a related discipline;
  • Excellent written and oral proficiency in English;
  • Ability and enthusiasm for working both independently and collaboratively in a highly multidisciplinary environment;
  • Experience in cell and developmental biology and imaging;
  • Affinity with image analysis and/or mathematical modeling approaches;
  • Fluent interdisciplinary communication skills with scientists in mathematical biology, biophysics and cell biology;
  • You take initiative and have a strong interest in academic research.

Research at our faculty
The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2800 staff and almost 6000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

For more information, see   and

The Institute for Biology
The research within the Institute of Biology Leiden (IBL) aims to work on the science base of biodiversity and health, which is reflected in our leading principle Harnessing Biodiversity for Health. We perform innovative curiosity-driven research to answer fundamental questions, and solutions-driven research to help solving major societal challenges. The latter include protecting nature’s biodiversity, creating sustainable biotechnology and agriculture and increasing good health. Our research focuses on four Research Themes: Bioactive Molecules, Host-Microbe Interactions, Development & Disease and Evolution & Biodiversity. Located in a thriving scientific environment with our Faculty of Sciences,  Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, the Leiden University Medical Centre and the Leiden Bioscience Park, IBL offers an exciting, internationally oriented and inclusive place to work and study.  

Terms and conditions 
We offer a  full-time 1 year term position for initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary range from € 2.541 to € 3.247 gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses(8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science . Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness. In addition, advanced courses to deepen scientific knowledge are offered by the research school.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Enquiries can be made to Prof. dr. Roeland Merks, +31 (0)71-5277106, . If you have any questions about the procedure, please contact Sylvia Maas ( ).

To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to . Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents (combined in a single PDF file) quoting the vacancy number:

  • An updated CV
  • The letters of recommendation by 1 or 2 former supervisors
  • The transcripts of your MSc studies        

Only applications received before February 6th , 2023 can be considered.

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