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PhD-student (3 years) Biochemical Pharmacology

ONCORNET2.0, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network (ETN), is looking for a  highly motivated and talented student with a MSc degree who is interested in an ambitious multidisciplinary project on oncogenic G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs).

8 maanden geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 - 40 uur
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand


Functional consequences phosphorylation barcoding/oligomerization CXCR4 and ACKR3 (ESR10)
There is increasing evidence that G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and their associated signalling cascades are involved in both cancer progression and metastasis. As oncogenic GPCRs are likely to be amenable to manipulation via drugs they are ideal therapeutic targets. In ONCORNET2.0 we propose to target two oncogenic GPCRs; the chemokine receptors CXCR4 and CXCR7 (http://www.oncornet.eu/index.php/projects). Moreover, GPCRs can dimerise or form higher order complexes with other membrane proteins such as receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) and are phosphorylated. During this PhD project we will determine the functional consequences of CXCR4/ACKR3 barcoding/oligomerisation and find means to therapeutically exploit these events with multimeric CXCR4/ACKR3/RTK nanobodies (1).

(1) Bobkov V et al, Heukers R. Smit MJ (2018) Nanobody-Fc constructs targeting chemokine receptor CXCR4 potently inhibit signaling and CXCR4-mediated HIV-entry and induce antibody effector functions. Biochem Pharmacol. 158:413-424.

Your duties
  • determine functional consequences of CXCR4/ACKR3 barcoding/oligomerization
  • examine CXCR4/ACKR3 mutants using CRISPR/CAS
  • characterisation multimeric CXCR4/ACKR3/RTK nanobodies
  • close collaboration with fellow PhD student ESR2 on development of CXCR4/ACKR3/RTK nanobodies
  • collaborations with other fellow PhD students in the consortium
  • execution of two external secondments: one with the company QVQ and one at University Hospital Jena
  • supervision of research traineeships and literature theses of master students
  • regular updating in project meetings and group meetings
  • dissemination of results in peer-reviewed journals and at conferences


  • required diploma: MSc in Molecular/Biomedical Life Sciences, Pharmaceutical sciences or related Life-Science degree
  • required expertise: biochemistry, molecular biology (DNA and protein level), cell culture, cellular signaling
  • recommended expertise: molecular cloning, biochemistry, SDS-PAGE, ELISA, FACS, cell based assays, oncogenic assays, fluorescence microscopy

Eligibility criteria of Marie Curie Initial Training Networks apply. Only applicants who comply to the following conditions will be considered:
  • candidates must be, at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. This is measured from the date when they obtained the MSc degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a doctorate
  • conditions of international mobility: Eligible candidates may be of any nationality but must not, at the time of recruitment, have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 last years immediately prior to the reference date


ONCORNET2.0 offers:
  • generously funded positions (duration 36 months) for 15 Early stage researchers (ESRs) according to the EU Marie Curie ITN funding scheme (for more information see version 2 on https://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/resources/document-libraries/information-note-fellows-innovative-training-networks-itn_en)
  • high profile research projects in an Innovative Training Network Program
  • excellent facilities for research and education
  • research training in both academic and industrial settings
  • training in state-of-the-art scientific and transferable skills
  • intensive contacts with international collaborators & secondments in other research laboratories

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2325 (PhD) gross per month during the first year and increases to €2972 (PhD) gross per month during the third year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1.0 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for another 2 years.

Additional information

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 31 december 2019. The job interviews will take place via a Skype interview and final round on February 11th 2020 in Amsterdam, when possible please take this day into account when applying for the position.

Please send the following information (as one pdf file)
  • Detailed CV (include information on your BSc and MSc studies, languages, achievements, expertise)
  • Motivation letter, addressed to the ONCORNET2.0 selection committee, explaining your motivation why you apply with us. You have to indicate which ONCORNET ESR projects you are interested in (please motivate your selection).
  • Provide contact details of at least 2 references (names, addresses, emails).
  • Reference letter from one of the enlisted references
  • Copies of your key educational certificates
  • Transcript of Records (i.e. documents enlisting your performance as BSc and MSc student over time by listing the course units or modules taken, credits gained and the grades awarded). If you have not completed your MSc degree yet include all grades obtained so far.

If applicable provide a language certificate

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Prof. Dr. Martine Smit, Dr. Marco Siderius
Position: Supervisors of this project
E-mail: mj.smit@vu.nl, m.siderius@vu.nl

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