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  3. PhD position in Photonics Translational Research - Medical Photonics (MEDPHOT) (1.0 FTE)

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PhD position in Photonics Translational Research - Medical Photonics (MEDPHOT) (1.0 FTE)

Do you have the motivation to work in a multidisciplinary research group in order to bridge the gap between a biochemistry lab, a physics lab and the clinic?

2 maanden geleden


Domplein, Utrecht, Utrecht
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 40 uur
€ 2395 - € 3061 per maand


Extracellular vessicles (EV) are small biological particles mostly secreted from living cells. The number of EVs circulating in the body has been related to the health condition. We have recently developed simple and scalable optical technology that can detect and count EVs with high accuracy and sensitivity. This project is part of the NWO Perspective programme “Photonics Translational Research – Medical Photonics (MEDPHOT)”, in which 7 universities, 1 institute and 12 companies collaborate to develop and validate new optical biomarkers that are needed to realize earlier diagnosis, improved treatment and better quality of life in areas that will drive health care costs in the future: oncology, asthma and neurodegeneration.

To confirm the high potential of extracellular vessicles (EVs) as disease biomarkers, the central scientific challenge of this project is to realize a reliable characterization of the smallest, single EVs at high throughput. Therefore, two state-of-art technologies for single nanoparticle detection in fluids, nanoCET and microfluidic resistive pulse sensing, will be extended with fluorescence detection to characterize EVs based on their protein expression. As a PhD candidate you will be asked (1) to develop a microscope compatible with the nanoCET technology and capable of simultaneous detection of light scattering and fluorescence emission, (2) to calibrate measured fluorescence intensities on calibration nanoparticles, and investigate reproducibility, (3) to develop and test procedures to characterize EVs in clinical samples using the developed systems, and (4) to collaborate with Researchers in a closely connected project for measuring EVs in clinical samples using the developed systems and relate the outcome to disease.

You will be a member of the Nanophotonics research group and will be encouraged to pursue your research goals with guidance from senior members of the group and reach a level of independence commensurate with a PhD degree in 4 years. Open collaboration, diversity, the highest level of research integrity and a safe and pleasant working environment are core values of the group. You will further closely collaborate with the Department of Biomedical Engineering & Physics (Professor Ton van Leeuwen, Dr Edwin van der Pol) at Amsterdam UMC, and with consortium partners.

Furthermore, you will report on your results at national and international meetings, through peer-reviewed publications, and in the form of a PhD thesis and you will benefit from the expertise of the Nanophotonics group of the Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science. As a member of this world-leading interdisciplinary institute you will have access to a wide range of laboratory infrastructure, instrumentation, and technical support. In addition, the Complexity Center at Utrecht University offers courses and expertise in data science and applications related to machine learning.


We are looking for a collaborative candidate who has:

  • a MSc degree in (applied) physics, biomedical engineering, or a related field;
  • affinity with optics, microfluidics, signal analysis and programming;
  • the ability to combine practical skills with analytical insights;
  • good communicative skills in English, both spoken and in writing;
  • the motivation to work in a multidisciplinary research group in order to bridge the gap between a biochemistry lab, a physics lab and the clinic.


  • a full-time PhD position, initially for one year with an extension to four years in total upon a successful assessment in the first year, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period;
  • a full-time gross salary that starts at €2,395 and increases to €3,061 per month in the fourth year (scale P of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (cao));
  • benefits including 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition to the employment conditions laid down in the cao for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. For example, there are agreements on professional development, leave arrangements and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment yourself via the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we like to encourage you to continue to grow.

More information about working at the Faculty of Science can be found here.

Additional information

If you have any questions, please contact Dr ir Sanli Faez, via s.faez@uu.nl.

Do you have a question about the application procedure? Please send an email to science.recruitment@uu.nl.