Phd student species differences in joint organisation

We offer a 4-year full-time (1.0 FTE) PhD-student position on the investigation of species differences in mammalian musculoskeletal tissues, including articular cartilage, the osteochondral unit and the intervertebral disc.
  • WO
  • Tijdelijk
University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht)


This is a 4-year full-time (1.0 FTE) PhD student position. Your project will focus on the evaluation of the microarchitecture-function relationship of cartilaginous tissues of the musculoskeletal system of terrestrial and aquatic (and possibly also airborne) mammals ranging from mice and dolphins to humans, elephants and whales. Conditions related to damage to the musculoskeletal system, the principal function of which is to sustain various types of loading making the biomechanical properties of these tissues crucial for resistance against damage, are one of the main burdens to our healthcare systems. Further insight in the microarchitecture-function relationship of the cartilaginous tissues can be gained by studying the evolutionary adaptations to diverse loading conditions in a large number of species and is pivotal for an in-depth understanding of articular biology, as well as for the development of innovative, durable and functional regenerative approaches for the treatment of the very disabling disorders of these tissues that are frequently seen in the human and veterinary clinics.

You will be performing cutting-edge research on a unique collection of samples of a large range (that you will further extend) of different mammalian species available through both the Orthopedic clinic at the UMC Utrecht and Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University. You will use advanced imaging technologies, as well as state-of-the-art biomechanical testing set-ups. You will join the Research group at the Department of Orthopedics of the UMC Utrecht at the Regenerative Medicine Center Utrecht and closely work with the Departments of Clinical Sciences and Pathology at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Utrecht University. You will coordinate your work within an (inter)national network of collaborators, while working in an ambitious, motivated, multi-disciplinary team of clinicians, veterinarians, physicists, pharmaceutical scientists, biologists, and engineers. You will co-supervise master and bachelor students during their internships and teaching opportunities will be available. You will be part of the Utrecht Graduate School of Life Sciences and will receive training, supervision, and guidance for both your research work and personal/professional development, which provides you with an excellent basis for an independent academic career.


  • You hold a Master degree in Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Anatomy, or a related field.
  • You have an interest in comparative biology, anatomy and (evolutionary) development
  • You are curious, motivated, goal-oriented, eager to learn, and thrive in a multidisciplinary research environment. You are able to tackle challenges in an effective manner, also when this requires a creative/non-conventional approach.
  • You are able to work independently, but also in a team. You are able to connect and collaborate with our partners.
  • You are able to communicate scientific ideas and results effectively. Proven proficiency in written and spoken English is required.

The initial contract will be for a period of one year, which will be extended to a total of four year upon successful assessment

The initial contract will be for a period of one year, which will be extended to a total of four years upon successful assessment


The maximum salary for this position (36 hours) is € 3.271 gross per month based on full-time employment.

In addition, we offer an annual benefit of 8.3%, holiday allowance, travel expenses and career opportunities. The terms of employment are in accordance with the Cao University Medical Centers (UMC).