Your challenge

The PhD student position is available at the Tracer Center Amsterdam, Department of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine of VUmc, The Netherlands, with an anticipated start in March 2020.
The stipend is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Innovative Medicines Intiative (IMI) grant agrement, the project is called “Immune-Image: Specific Imaging of Immune Cell Dynamics Using Novel Tracer Strategies”.

Your challenge
Immune check point inhibitors have been shown to be effective only in a subset of cancer patients. Predicting patient benefit by using currently approved diagnostics is challenging, as biopsy-based tests are not reliable due to the heterogeneity of the tumors and limitations of invasive tissue collection. Noninvasive imaging technologies, particularly positron emission tomography (PET), have the potential to quantify target expression levels provided that a tracer is available. The candidate will work on developing novel peptide-based molecules for PET imaging. You will use different approaches like phage display and computational modeling to identify lead compounds. You will synthesize them and evaluate them in vitro for affinity, specificity and stability, and you will further optimize them to improve their characteristics. You will also radiolabel them with different isotopes for in vitro and in vivo evaluation, and PET imaging.

The candidates will be enrolled at the CCA graduate school of VUmc. The graduate program requires the student to obtain 30 ECTS points during the PhD trajectory in order to graduate.

Your profile

We are looking for a dedicated and skilled individual with excellent analytical skills, good command of written and spoken English and the candidate should be able to work in a team as well as independently.

You also have the preferred following qualifications:

  • Obtained a MSc degree in biochemistry, chemical biology, medicinal chemistry or life sciences;
  • Experience in computational modeling;
  • Experience in phage display and bacterial culture;
  • Experience in peptide chemistry or organic chemistry;
  • Experience in cell culture and in vitro binding assays;
  • Interest in molecular imaging and PET imaging.

Your work environment

The department of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine is, amongst others, specialized in conducting research using nuclear imaging techniques, more specifically Positron Emission Tomography (PET). Our aim is to use PET for diagnosis of disease, treatment monitoring, patient selection as well as for understanding biological processes. Tracer Center Amsterdam (TCA) develops the new PET tracers needed in the clinic for neurological diseases as well as oncology, rheumatology and cardiology. The research of TCA focusses on radiochemistry methodology development, selection of biological targets and development of new PET tracers for these targets, preclinical in vivo evaluation of new PET tracers as well as good manufacturing practice (GMP)-compliant synthesis of PET tracers.
In 2020 we will move into the Amsterdam UMC Imaging Center equipped with a brand new lab for TCA according to current state of the art. At the Imaging Center all imaging modalities will come together and the synergy with the clinic will be further enhanced.
TCA collaborates with many national and international research institutes and pharmaceutical companies.

About the Immune-Image consortium
Immunotherapies, which harness the immune system to fight disease, are revolutionising the treatment of many cancers and inflammatory diseases. However, while these innovative treatments prove life-saving for some patients, others do not respond to immunotherapies at all, and others experience serious side effects. The project Immune-Image aims to pioneer the use of non-invasive imaging technologies to track the activity of immune cells in the body. Ultimately, the project will make it easier to predict how patients will respond to treatment, monitor immune activity during treatment and steer the development of more effective immunotherapies.
To do this, the project will develop tracers capable of highlighting specific immune cells in a range of imaging types, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), optical imaging (OI) and computed tomography (CT). They will also analyse biopsies and blood samples to build up complete immunological profiles of patients and to correlate imaging findings with pathology; this information will contribute to the development of personalised immunotherapies. More information about the Immune-image project and consortium partners can be found on the website.

We offer

Salary Scale PHD: 2422 tot 3103 euro gross when employed full-time (depending on qualifications and experience).

  • Additional benefits include an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday pay.

– Your pension premium will be paid by us for 70%.
– We reimburse 75% of your OV travel costs (commuting costs).

What we also offer
We offer you the opportunity to further develop your skills, to deepen and broaden your knowledge, and to follow additional training. Working at Amsterdam UMC means working in an inspiring and professional environment where development is encouraged in every respect.

For more information about our employment conditions, please visit our website.
For Dutch citizens it is mandatory to provide a VOG (a declaration of good behaviour).

Additional information

The application must include a motivation letter, a curriculum vitae, a list of peer reviewed publications, as well as possible letters of recommendation and diplomas.

Information and application

Don’t hesitate to call us!
If you’re interested about this position, you can contact dr. W. Beaino at +3120444 5544 or alternatively Prof. dr. A.D. Windhorst, via telephone number +3120 444 9707.
If you need more information about the application procedure, contact Brend de Jong, corporate recruiter at +3120 444 5635.

You can apply till 27 February 2020 by using the apply button.

Acquisition based on this vacancy is not appreciated.