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PhD candidate, Regulation of infection-induced inflammation

Vacancy number
Function type
PhD positions
Hours (in fte)
External/ internal
Placed on
06 January 2021
Closing date
01 February 2021

Vacancy closed

The Faculty of Science and the Institute of Biology Leiden is looking for a

PhD candidate, Regulation of infection-induced inflammation

Key responsibilities
The PhD candidate will participate in the project INFLANET, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Network (ITN) focused on Training European Experts in Inflammation. His/her responsibility is to study the role of inflammation in tuberculosis, a bacterial infectious disease that constitutes a worldwide health threat. In the context of infection, two highly interactive cellular pathways are crucial for the regulation of the inflammatory response. The first is autophagy, our cellular housekeeping and recycling system. The second involves the activation of multi-protein complexes called inflammasomes, responsible for amplifying inflammation upon danger signals. The PhD candidate will study how autophagy and inflammasomes cross-regulate each other’s activities using in vitro and in vivo tuberculosis models. The researcher will apply advanced imaging techniques to study how autophagy and inflammasome components physically co-localize and functionally interact during infection. These imaging studies will be combined with genetic loss-and-gain-of-function approaches to determine if autophagy protects against pathological inflammation in the cell-based and zebrafish tuberculosis models. Finally, the project aims to elucidate the role of key signalling molecules in the interplay between autophagy and inflammation during tuberculosis infection and evaluate their potential on the design of new therapies.

Selection criteria

  • MSc-degree in biology, biomedical sciences, life sciences or a related discipline;
  • Compliance with the eligibility criteria and transnational mobility rules of a Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN, as detailed on the application website;
  • Commitment to the research and training programme of the INFLANET consortium;
  • Theoretical knowledge of immunology, especially innate immunity;
  • Practical experience in molecular and cellular biology;
  • Affinity and preferably experience with confocal microscopy, mammalian cell culture, and zebrafish disease models;
  • English conversation, writing skills, and presentation skills;
  • Social skills.

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 organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes. 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. For more information, see the website of the Faculty of Science.

The research within the Institute of Biology Leiden (IBL) aims to work on the science base of biodiversity and health, which is reflected in our leading principle Harnessing Biodiversity for Health. We perform innovative curiosity-driven research to answer fundamental questions, and solutions-driven research to help solving major societal challenges. The latter include protecting natures biodiversity, creating sustainable biotechnology and agriculture and increasing good health. Our research focuses on four Research Themes: Bioactive Molecules, Host-Microbe Interactions, Development & Disease and Evolution & Biodiversity. Located in a thriving scientific environment with our Faculty of Sciences,  Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, the Leiden University Medical Centre and the Leiden Bioscience Park, IBL offers an exciting, internationally oriented and inclusive place to work and study.  

Terms and conditions 
The appointment is intended to lead to the completion of a PhD thesis in four years. We offer a full-time 1 year term position for initially one year. 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). During the first 3 years of the appointment the candidate will have the status of Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow and salary will be augmented by a mobility allowance in line with the EC rules for Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant holders.

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. 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. In addition, advanced courses to deepen scientific knowledge are offered by the research school.

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

Enquiries can be made to Annemarie Meijer, email a.h.meijer@biology.leidenuniv.nl. If you have any questions about the procedure, please submit these through the application website.

Applications - in English - should include a cover letter, motivation, curriculum vitae, certificates of examination results, and two reference letters, which are all to be submitted through a network-wide on-line application system.

Only applications received no later than February 1 2021 can be considered. The interviews will take place within 1 month after the application deadline.

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