Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) hold great promise for regenerative medicine and in vitro disease modelling because of their capacity to differentiate to any cell type of the human body. We have recently shown differentiation of hPSC to cardiac progenitors and cardiac subtypes, including atrial, ventricular and pacemaker cardiomyocytes. However, one of the key challenges is to obtain mature cardiac subtypes, comparable to the adult heart. This ambitious project will focus on hPSC differentiated to the cardiac lineage using advanced 2D and 3D cultures to study chromatin state and the gene regulatory interactions underlying cellular identity and maturity.
As a PhD Candidate you will differentiate hPSC to the cardiac progenitors and subtypes and generate 3D cardiac tissues using state-of-the-art tissue engineering technologies. You will use single-cell transcriptome analysis (single-cell RNA-seq) to distinguish subpopulations of cells with different identities and potentials, and you will compare these transcriptomes to those of mature human cardiac cells. You will also obtain chromatin accessibility and epigenetic data (ATAC-seq, ChIP-seq) to examine gene-regulatory elements and to infer gene-regulatory networks. You will use these data to predict and test key regulatory interactions with the aim of improving the maturation of differentiated stem cells. Moreover, you will use CRISPR-Cas gene-editing methods to create specific lineage reporter lines or target key molecular pathways in hPSC. You will have the opportunity to develop novel ideas and work on an independent project that aligns with our research interests.
- a Master’s degree in molecular or cellular biology, molecular life sciences or a related field;
- experience in one or more of the following areas: molecular biology techniques, generation and analysis of next-generation sequencing, single-cell approaches, genomics and gene regulation, or computational analysis;
- an interest in and affinity with stem-cell culture and tissue engineering;
- excellent communication skills in written and spoken English;
- strong analytical skills, a problem-solving and result-oriented attitude;
- the ability to work and interact with others in an energetic and supportive research environment.
you will be appointed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years
- you will be classified as a PhD Candidate in the Dutch university job-ranking system (UFO)
the gross starting salary amounts to €2,222 per month, and will increase to €2,840 in the fourth year (P scale)
The University of Twente and Radboud University’s Faculty of Science are equal opportunity employers, committed to building a culturally diverse intellectual community, and as such encourage applications from women and minorities.
Prof. dr. Gert Jan C. Veenstra
+3124 361 05 41
Prof. dr. Robert Passier
+3153 489 55 53
; www.utwente.nl/en/tnw/ast/team/scientific-staff/robert-passier/Radboud University