This PhD fellowship aims to investigate how to increase the efficiency and precision of genomic engineering of human cells by leveraging advanced viral vector and gene editing technologies. Specifically, as a PhD student, you will investigate adenovector particle-mediated genetic correction of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) muscle cells cultured ex vivo for disease modelling and potential cell therapy. This research will include the testing of CRISPR-Cas9 variants (i.e., nickases and nickase-based prime editors) which, in contrast to conventional programmable nucleases, do not generate mutagenic chromosomal breaks at on-target and off-target positions in the genome. Guided by findings in DMD patient-derived myogenic cells and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), your research is expected to identify an integrated genome-editing toolbox capable of safer and efficient gene correction. The research will take place in the Genome editing group of the Department of Cell and Chemical Biology at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC). The PhD program is part of the EU-funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Doctoral Network (DN): GetRadi – “Gene Therapy of Rare Diseases”.
You are an ambitious, initiative-taking, and enthusiastic candidate with a M.Sc. degree in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology or a closely related discipline and have a strong interest in and commitment for research leading to new insights and developments in the genomic engineering field. You have practical experience with molecular biology techniques, cell biology assays and aseptic cell culturing. Knowledge of next-generation sequencing, bioinformatics and/or virological assays is advantageous. Finally, you must possess excellent organizational and communicational skills to effectively work within a diverse and multidisciplinary team. As a PhD candidate, you will have to enroll at the LUMC Graduate School. Importantly, you must comply with the eligibility criteria of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Doctoral Network (DN) training programme. Specifically, at the start of the recruitment (i.e., March 1st, 2023), you must not be in possession of a doctoral degree, and you must not have resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Short stays, such as, holidays and compulsory military services are not considered. Your proficiency in written and spoken English must be high so that you can obtain the full benefit of participating in the training network that includes secondments in academic and/or industry hosting groups.
What we offer
Getting better at ground-breaking levels; that's our mission. This applies not only to healthcare, but also to our employees. In order to be able to continue to learn and develop, we offer internal and external training. You are also entitled to an end-of-year bonus (8,3%), holiday allowance, sports budget, and bicycle scheme. In addition, you can make use of our pension scheme at ABP, where LUMC pays no less than 70% of your pension premium, causing your net salary to be higher.
Working at the LUMC
The LUMC, situated in Leiden, the Netherlands, is an academic medical centre for patient care, research and education, aiming to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s health care. It has a strong focus on research, connecting and combining fundamental research into disease-causing mechanisms with patient-focused studies in areas like oncology, regenerative medicine, and population health. The LUMC has research facilities that include capabilities for multiple appliances. The combination with clinical and societal outreach programmes allows for ground-breaking research and innovation in basic and applied science.
Within the Department of Cell and Chemical Biology of the LUMC, the Genome editing group investigates (i) viral vectors as delivery agents of gene-editing tools; and (ii) advanced gene-editing principles for disease modelling and treatment. Parts of these interconnected research lines are done in collaboration with colleagues from the LUMC and from national and international institutions.
A detailed job description can be found at www.lumc.nl/vacancies. You may also contact Manuel A.F.V. Goncalves, associate professor, Department of Cell and Chemical Biology, e-mail [Email Address Removed].
How to apply
Please send your application including your motivation and CV via our online platform: PhD Molecular Cell Biology, Genome Editing (D.22.MH.MR.35) - LUMC (recruitee.com). Make sure to do this before October 20th 2022, 23.59 pm CET. Clearly state the vacancy number of the position you are applying for.