Your challenge

A recently started research project within the Center for Childhood White Matter Disorders of the department of Child Neurology aims at increasing understanding of the role of astrocytes in the leukodystrophy ‘vanishing white matter’ (VWM). VWM is caused by bi-allelic mutations in eukaryotic initiation factor eIF2B that is part of the integrated stress response (ISR). Previous work showed that VWM astrocytes are central in the brain disease: they are morphologically abnormal, do not support oligodendrocyte maturation, do not develop into a reactive astrocytes and selectively express a deregulated ISR. eIF2B and the ISR are essential in all cells of the body. The only organs outside the brain that is consistently affected in VWM patients are the ovaria. It remains unknown how cell types other than astrocytes are contributing to VWM clinical hallmarks.
The project consists mainly of characterizing new conditional VWM disease models that express the eIF2B mutation in a brain-cell-type-specific manner. In paralell, the postdoc will investigate ISR deregulation in ovaria and other organs.
The underlying cause for cell-specific manifestations of a mutated housekeeping protein could reside in cell-specific modulation of eIF2B activity. The postdoc is therefore actively involved in developing a biochemical assay to quantify eIF2B activity in cell lysates from patients and disease models.

As a postdoc your main tasks will include:

  • Oversee the generation of cell type-specific VWM disease models;
  • Characterize the newly generated cell type-specific VWM disease models;
  • Analyze ovaria collected from whole body knockin VWM disease models;
  • Optimize biochemical eIF2B assay (incl. culturing of patient cells);
  • Data gathering, processing, and analyses;
  • Present the study results at scientific and public meetings and write papers for peer-reviewed scientific journals;
  • Collaborate with other researchers within the Center for Childhood White Matter Disorders and other groups inside and outside the Amsterdam UMC.

Your profile

We are looking for a highly motivated, excellent scientist who can work in a multidisciplinary team as well as independently and is creative in seeking solutions for problems. Good writing skills and command of written and spoken English is required.
As a postdoc you have the following qualifications:

  • a PhD degree related to life sciences or neurosciences (e.g. biochemistry, cell biology);
  • Art 9 qualification;
  • motivation to work on multiple projects simultaneously.

Your work environment

The Center for Childhood White Matter Disorders (department of Child Neurology / Pediatrics, Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc) is headed by Marjo van der Knaap. The Center is internationally renowned for its research on childhood leukodystrophies. The multidisciplinary research group is composed of child neurologists, neuropathologists, molecular biologists and cell biologists and is supported by experienced technicians. In the context of this Center, leukodystrophies are studied in all aspects, including clinical phenotypes, MRI/MRS, genetics, neuropathology, electrophysiology and molecular and cellular aspects.

Working at Amsterdam UMC means working in an inspiring and professional environment in which developing one`s talents and skills is encouraged. We offer you ample opportunity for development, deepening and broadening, additional training and a place to grow! Working at Amsterdam UMC, VUmc location means working in an inspiring and professional environment where development is encouraged in every aspect.

We offer

Salary Scale 10: 2826 tot 4481 euro gross when employed full-time (depending on qualifications and experience).

In addition we offer:
– Additional benefits include an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday pay.
– Pension is accrued at the ABP. VUmc contributes a large part of the premium (70%).
– In addition to excellent accessibility by public transport, we reimburse 75% of your OV travel costs (commuting costs).

For more information about our employment conditions, please visit our website.

Additional information

April 1 2020 is the preferred starting date.

Information and application

Don’t hesitate to call us!
If you’re interested about this position, you can contact Truus Abbink, 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 27 February 2020 by using the apply button.

Acquisition based on this vacancy is not appreciated.