The Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy (GRIP) of the Faculty of Science and Engineering has a position for a PhD candidate in the department of molecular pharmacology. The project is funded by a grant from The Netherlands Lung Foundation. The project is a collaboration between the University of Groningen and the University of Colorado (Denver, USA): the candidate will spend 2 years of research time at both institutes.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by a progressive loss of lung function with airflow obstruction that is not fully reversible. The key problem underlying COPD is defective airway and alveolar repair in response to inflammation and oxidative stress, causing bronchitis, small airways remodeling and emphysema. As current therapies do not modify the course of the disease in COPD, new therapies need to be developed.
Epithelial progenitor cells of the distal lung interact with structural cells such as fibroblasts to contribute to lung repair, which is driven by canonical WNT/β-catenin signaling. This mechanism is impaired in COPD, in part because chronic inflammation and oxidative stress provide a hostile local microenvironment in the COPD lung, not only causing damage, but also hampering repair responses. Inflammation and oxidative stress directly and indirectly affect canonical WNT/β-catenin signaling (responsible for repair). The successful PhD candidate will therefore investigate in this project whether reversal of this process using targeted pharmacological inhibition is possible. We hypothesize that the distortion of regenerative signaling is driven by a canonical to non-canonical WNT signaling switch, skewing signaling towards pro-inflammatory pathways, which lead to halted repair. These pathways provide rational drug targets for alveolar repair and we propose that it is possible to restore lung repair by targeting these pathways.
A team of pharmacologists, pathologists, (stem) cell biologists and pulmonologists will form a consortium to investigate this hypothesis in detail. We seek a PhD student to lead this effort in investigating i) how inflammation and oxidative stress promote a canonical to non-canonical WNT signalling switch; ii) whether this pathway cross-talk contributes to impaired lung repair in COPD; and iii) whether these pathways can be targeted pharmacologically in order to restore endogenous and progenitor cell mediated repair.
The successful PhD candidate will have the following qualifications:
- a master’s degree in Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, (Medical) Biology, Tissue Engineering or a related area
- affinity with advanced techniques in cell biology and tissue regeneration
- previous experience with in vitro cell culture, molecular and cell biology, cellular imaging would be considered an asset
- excellent knowledge of written and spoken English
- enthusiasm for pharmaceutical research in an interdisciplinary setting.
The University of Groningen offers a salary of € 2,222 gross per month in the first year up to a maximum of € 2,840 gross per month in the fourth and final year, based on a full-time position (1.0 fte), excluding a 8% holiday allowance and a 8.3% end-of-the-year bonus. The position is limited to a period of 4 years. The first year constitutes a probationary period, with an evaluation of the candidate’s performance after 9 months. The objective of this evaluation is to establish whether the candidate will be able to finish a PhD thesis in the remaining three years. If the performance evaluation is positive, the candidate’s contract will be extended by another 3 years, for a total of 4 years.
How to apply
You may apply for this position until 29 November 23:59 h / before 30 November 2017 Dutch local time by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).
Applications for the position should include:
• curriculum vitae (name, address, degree(s) with transcript(s) of grades, research experience, educational and employment history, etc.)
• motivation letter
• name and (email) address of two academic references.
The preferred starting date will be 1 January 2018.
Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.
Prof. R. Gosens
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative institution of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 30,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. As one of the best research universities in Europe, the University of Groningen has joined forces with other top universities and networks worldwide to become a truly global centre of knowledge.