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2 PhD candidates to study the molecular mechanisms of the Hsp70 chaperone in neurodegenerative disease

Vacancy number
Function type
PhD positions
Hours (in fte)
External/ internal
Placed on
19 April 2022
Closing date
9 May 2022 Vacancy closed

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

2 PhD candidates, to study the molecular mechanisms of the Hsp70 chaperone in neurodegenerative disease
Vacancy number: 22-223

Key responsibilities
The progressive accumulation of proteins into ordered, amyloid-type aggregates is a shared characteristic of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. As regulators of protein folding states, molecular chaperones are uniquely placed to interfere in the formation and aid the clearance of such aggregate deposits. To unravel the potentially pivotal role of molecular chaperones in disease, we aim to build a mechanistic understanding of the role of the Hsp70 chaperone machinery in the formation, clearance and propagation of amyloid fibrils and the key role of co-chaperones in enabling such diverse Hsp70 activities.

The PhD candidate(s) will carry out research leading to a PhD degree using either structural biology (cryo-EM) and biochemistry techniques to characterise the architecture of functional Hsp70 complexes in vitro, or use proximity biotinylation coupled with mass spectrometry to identify novel Hsp70 complexes and characterise their properties in human cell culture. The PhD candidate(s) must be flexible and communicative and able to work in biochemistry and biophysical or cell biology labs and possess excellent numerical skills.

Selection Criteria
·    Master degree in biochemistry, life-science technology or equivalent
·    Proven interest in either protein structure and function or the molecular basis of neurodegenerative disease
·    Previous experience with either cryo-electron microscopy, the biochemical characterization of protein aggregates or proteomics is desirable
·    Proficient in English with excellent oral and written communication skills
·    Works efficiently both independently and as part of a team of international researchers

Our organization
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. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,300 staff and almost 5,000 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. 
For more information, see https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/science and https://workingat.leiden.edu/ 

Terms and conditions
We offer a full-time position for initially one year. After 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 € 2.443 to € 3.122 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. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.
All our PhD candidates are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science www.graduateschools.leidenuniv.nl. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness.

Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. We welcome diversity in experiences and perspectives, because they enrich and strengthen our teaching and research.

Enquiries can be made to Dr. Anne Wentink (a.s.wentink@lic.leidenuniv.nl)

To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to Mrs. Liesbeth van der Velden, e-mail: veldenevander@lic.leidenuniv.nl.
Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number:
•    Letter of motivation addressed to Dr. Anne Wentink, including a statement why you are suited for this position
•    Curriculum vitae
•    Transcripts of bachelor and master curriculum courses, including grades
•    Two references, including names, affiliations and email addresses
Only applications received no later than 9 May 2022 can be considered.

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