Your challenge

A new research project within the molecular team is aiming at increasing understanding the effects of deregulated integrated stress response (ISR) in the leukodystrophy vanishing white matter (VWM). Previous work showed that this reponse is deregulated in brain tissue from both VWM patients and disease models that clinically recapitulate VWM. ISR deregulation occurs predominantly in astrocytes, which is remarkable because an ISR is not an astrocyte-specific response and can occur in all cells of the body. In follow-up studies we aim to investigate the consequences of removing key components in the ISR on disease progression in VWM models. In parallel studies we will modulate the ISR pharmacologically, so that we can investigate if the ISR is a suitable target for therapy development. In subsequent studies we will further investigate the effects of ISR modulation on selected cellular functions.

As a PhD student your main tasks will be:

  • Perform experiments, keep up with scientific literature, help developing functional assays in cell-based models;
  • Data gathering, processing, and analyses;
  • To present the study and results at (international) scientific and public meetings;
  • To write scientific papers, professional publications and a factsheet;
  • Writing a PhD thesis based on high-quality internationally peer reviewed publications;
  • Training in essential research skills is part of the appointment as a PhD student;
  • To collaborate with other researchers in a multidisciplinary team in our department.

Your profile

We seek a highly motivated scientist who can work in a multidisciplinary team as well as independently and is creative in seeking solutions when encountering problems. Besauce you will work in a multidisciplinary team and present the study and results at international meetings, you have good command of written and spoken English.

As PhD candidate you also have the following qualifications:

  • holds a Master’s degree related to life sciences or neurosciences (e.g. molecular biology);
  • has experience in cloning, Crspr/Cas or other genome-editing technologies;
  • has affinity with animal experiments and culturing (primary) cells.

Your work environment

In the department of Pediatrics within the group of Marjo van der Knaap there is a vacancy for a PhD student. The department of Pediatrics at VUmc has an internationally renowned research focus on childhood leukodystrophies. This multidisciplinary research group is composed of child neurologists, molecular and cell biologists and is supported by experienced technicians. The research focus is mainly into clinical signs, MRI/MRS, genetics, neuropathology, electrophysiology and molecular and cellular aspects of this type of diseases. More information on our research can be found at on the website.

We offer

Salary Scale PHD: 2357 tot 3020 euro gross when employed full-time (depending on qualifications and experience).

In addition we give a bonus of 8,3% of the year’s salary at the end of the year and 8% of the year’s salary as holiday bonus. VUmc employees can profit from a advantageous health care insurance and other benefits. For more information see our website.

Additional information

For Dutch citizens it is mandatory to provide a VOG (a declaration of good behaviour).


Don’t hesitate to call us!
If you’re interested about this position, you can contact Truus Abbink (lecturer and team leader), via telephone number + 31 (0)20 598 8292.
If you need more information about the application procedure, contact Brend de Jong, corporate recruiter at +31 (0)20 444 5635.

You can apply till 28 February 2019 by using the apply button.

Acquisition based on this vacancy is not appreciated.