Universiteit Leiden

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PhD candidates in the field of supramolecular biomaterials

Vacancy number
Function type
PhD positions
Hours (in fte)
1.0 (3 positions)
External/ internal
Placed on
23 June 2020
Closing date
15 July 2020 Vacancy closed

The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Institute of Chemistry are looking for a

PhD candidates in the field of supramolecular biomaterials

Project description
The biochemical and biophysical cues of the stem cell environment that act in a concerted and spatiotemporal manner lead to the formation of the 200 cell types and organs of the human body; how this precisely occurs remains unclear, but it is necessary to guide their production for use in the biomedical area. Standard differentiation protocols in vitro mimic known stages in development by the timed addition of biochemical cues on 2D substrates, however these protocols lack the complexity of the 3D natural extracellular matrix (ECM), with its mechanical character that evolves in time. Supramolecular materials can recapitulate the structural and dynamic character of the ECM being based on non-covalent interactions, however their mechanically soft character remains challenging to mimic the properties of adult tissues. In this project, we will synthesize and study supramolecular materials whose properties can be mechanically modified in both space and time using external triggers for the culture of induced pluripotent stem cells and their differentiation to cardiomyocytes.

Selection criteria
We are looking for three (3) highly motivated candidates, that have:

  • A Master’s degree in chemistry or life sciences;
  • Experience in either: synthesis and characterization of small molecules, stem cell culture, or bioprinting, and a willingness to learn and use techniques from the other areas;
  • Excellent proficiency in English;
  • Ability to work as a team player in a multidisciplinary environment;
  • Initiative, creativity and an independent working attitude.

Our organisation
The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organized in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programs. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 1,300 staff and almost 4,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

The chemistry and life science research in the Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC) is organized around two major research areas: ‘Chemical Biology’ and ‘Energy & Sustainability’. The institute’s research themes illustrate the central position of chemistry between biology, medicine and physics. The various research topics carried out within these themes are ideal for executing interdisciplinary research.

Terms and conditions
We offer a position for initially one year. The position is available from September 1st, 2020. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities, and compatibility, the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary range from € 2.395,- to € 3.061,- gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3%), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Enquiries can be made to Roxanne Kieltyka, email r.e.kieltyka@chem.leidenuniv.nl If you have any questions about the procedure, please contact secretary Michelle van der Haar, email m.haar@chem.leidenuniv.nl.

To apply for this vacancy, please send an email m.haar@chem.leidenuniv.nl. Please ensure that you quote the vacancy number and include the following documents in your application:

  • A letter of motivation;
  • An updated CV;
  • A copy of your MSc thesis or any other publication (if available);
  • The transcripts of your MSc studies and a copy of your degree;
  • At least two references, including names, affiliations and email addresses.

Only applications received no later than 15th of July, 2020 will be considered.

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