PhD student in vascular cell biology/immunology

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 21 Apr 2024

Apply now

The Faculty of Science and the Institute for Biology Leiden are looking for an:
PhD student in vascular cell biology/immunology

Key responsibilities
The PhD student will work in close collaboration with a technician on a research line focused on a pregnancy-associated alloimmune disorder, in which some pregnant women generate antibodies against their own fetus. In most cases the antibodies are directed against beta3 integrins, which are cell-surface receptors important for cell adhesion, migration, and signaling. The beta3 integrins are strongly expressed on platelets and endothelial cells, where they regulate blood clotting and the formation of blood vessels by sprouting angiogenesis. The generated antibodies cross the placenta and target fetal cells, which can result in vascular defects and platelet destruction, causing Fetal/Neonatal AlloImmune Thrombocytopenia (FNAIT). The consequences for the fetus or neonate range from no symptoms to intracranial hemorrhage, causing life-long disabilities or even death. However, it is poorly understood why some antibodies cause severe defects and others do not (Stam et al. 2023, Blood Rev. 59:101038).

In this project, funded by LSBR, we will in detail map the exact binding sites of maternal anti-integrin beta3 alloantibodies (derived from FNAIT cases) to beta3 integrins, and determine their effects on platelets and endothelial cells. We will use structural biology, mutational analysis, and various molecular, cell biological, and biochemical approaches including endothelial cell culture, platelet activation and aggregation assays, cryo-EM, flow cytometry, protein purification, cell adhesion and sprouting angiogenesis assays, live-cell imaging, and confocal microscopy.

The candidate will be embedded in the research group of Dr. Coert Margadant ( ) at Leiden University, focused on the molecular mechanisms of cell adhesion and migration in health and disease, using a wide range of model systems and advanced microscopy.

Selection criteria

  • A MSc degree in Molecular Cell Biology and/or Immunology, Biomedical sciences, or a related field
  • Independence in lab work as well as team player
  • Expertise in or affinity with cell culture, protein production, molecular cell biology, flow cytometry, cloning and/or site-directed mutagenesis
  • Strong communication skills and level of English

Research at our faculty of Science
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 2,300 staff and almost 5,000 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.

Diversity and inclusion
Fostering an inclusive community is a central element of the values and vision of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

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 € 2.770,- to €3.539,- 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.

For more information please contact: Dr. Coert Margadant ([email protected] ), Lab website: . If you have any questions about the procedure, please contact Christina Kamerman ([email protected] ).

To apply for this vacancy, please submit online your application no later than April 21th 2024 via the blue button in our application system.
Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number:

• Cover letter
• Curriculum vitae
• Contact details of two references

Review of applications will begin immediately.

Apply now

Similar Positions