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PhD-student (3 years) GPCR Molecular 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


Pharmacological analysis of photoactivatable CXCR4/ACKR3 ligands in vitro/in vivo (ESR7)
Photopharmacology has emerged as an exciting research area on the interface between chemistry and biology. In photopharmacology, light is used to switch biological activity of small-molecule ligands of specific proteins. As such, it provides precise spatiotemporal control of protein activity and is compatible with living systems. Photoswitchable and photocaged ligands are promising research tools to study biological processes and hold promise as potential light-activatable medicines. As part of the broader Oncornet 2.0 consortium, this project aims unleash photopharmacology on the chemokine receptors CXCR4 and ACKR3 by investigating the synthesis and photochemistry of photosensitive small-molecule ligands (http://www.oncornet.eu/index.php/projects).
More information on the concept of photoswitchable ligands can be found in the following recent publications from our group.
Hauwert et al., J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 4232
Hauwert et al., Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed. 2019, 58, 4531
Gómez-Santacana et al., Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed. 2018, 57, 11608
Gómez-Santacana et al., Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2019, 15, 2509

Your duties
  • development of new photopharmacology cell-based assays to pharmacologically characterize photoswitchable small-molecule CXCR4 and ACKR3 ligands (agonists/antagonists)
  • characterization of new photoswitchable ligands, supported by computer-aided drug design and GPCR mutation studies
  • Close collaboration with fellow PhD student ESR1 on the in vitro pharmacological characterization of the synthesized ligands
  • Collaborations with other fellow PhD students in the consortium on the in vitro and in vivo application of the photoswitchable ligands
  • Execution of two external secondments: one with the company InterAx (Switserland) and the second at INSERM (Paris, France)
  • 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: A MSc degree in Biochemistry or Pharmacology or related Biomedical degrees
  • required expertise: The candidate has a strong background (theoretical and practical) in cell biology, signal transduction and preferably pharmacology and/or molecular biology
  • recommended expertise: Expertise in GPCR molecular and cellular pharmacology is a strong pre. Previous experience with biosensor-based assay development and/or photopharmacology is also highly valued

Eligibility criteria of Marie Curie Initial Training Networks apply. Only applicants who comply to the following conditions will be considered:
  • conditions: 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. Rob Leurs, Dr. Henry Vischer, Dr. Maikel Wijtmans
Position: Supervisors of this project
E-mail: r.leurs@vu.nl; h.f.vischer@vu.nl; m.wijtmans@vu.nl

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