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Early Stage Researcher 6 (PhD Candidate) for the NANOMED European Training Network within the Marie Sklodowska Curie Programme (1,0 FTE)

Job description

Early Stage Researcher 6: Self-assembling peptides as vaccine delivery systems

The task of the ESR is to rationally design molecularly-defined supramolecular cancer vaccines using amphiphilic self-assembling peptides as scaffolds. These cancer vaccines will be designed to carry tumor-specific peptide epitopes in addition to immune activating nucleic acids. The supramolecular structure of these peptide vesicles will be scrutinized using advanced analytical techniques including dynamic and static light scattering and solid state NMR. The capacity of these nanocarriers to deliver tumor antigens to antien presenting cells and to evoke a protective immune responses will be evaluated bot in vitro and in vivo. 

You will perform your PhD research in a multidisciplinary Initial Training Network (ITN) project called NANOMED.


At the time of recruitment you must be in the first four years of your research career and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree; You have excellent communication skills and are able to work efficiently in a team. Specific technical requirements are mentioned seperately for the individual ESR descriptions. Recruitment is open to all nationalities. Because of mobility rules defined by the EU, at the time of recruitment, candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Netherlands for more than twelve months in the three years immediately prior to the reference date (compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account).

Skills required:

  • Recombinant peptide production in E. coli;
  • supramolecular chemistry;
  • NMR analysis;
  • nanoscience;
  • affinity with life sciences research;
  • in particular immunology.


The candidate is offered a full-time position for four years. The salary is supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8,3% per year. In addition we offer: a pension scheme, a partially paid parental leave, flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities. The research group will provide the candidate with necessary support on all aspects of the project. For more information visit Working at Utrecht University.  

The gross salary is in the range between € 2125,- and maximum € 2717,- per month.

About the organization

Utrecht University has great ambitions for its teaching quality and study success rates. This also applies to its clear research profiles which are centred around four themes: Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability. Utrecht University plays a prominent role in our society and contributes to finding the answers to topical and future societal issues.

The Faculty of Science consists of six departments: Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Information and Computing Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry and Mathematics. The Faculty is home to 3500 students and nearly 2000 staff and is internationally renowned for the quality of its research. The Faculty's academic programmes reflect developments in today's society.

The core activity of the Pharmaceutics groups is the design and pre-clinical testing of tailor-made drug delivery systems for site-specific, time- and/or rate-controlled delivery of small molecular weight drugs, therapeutic proteins, and nucleic acids (including DNA and siRNA). The major strength of the department is the multidisciplinary nature. As such it can cover the development of drug delivery systems from the design and synthesis up to preclinical testing. It has a good infrastructure for synthesis and characterization of nanoparticles in addition to a dedicated cell culture facility. In addition, it has access to one of the biggest laboratory animal facilities in Europe providing support in animal testing and in vivo imaging. The dept. Pharmaceutics is a member of the faculty of Science, but is also part of the Utrecht Life Science Cluster with the aim to advance therapies into the clinic. In addition, the dept. Pharmaceutics has many collaborations with academic groups and biopharmaceutical companies worldwide.

Additional information

Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from: Dr. Enrico Mastrobattista (

As part of the selection procedure, the candidate is expected to give an outline of his/her research plans in a written report and an oral presentation.


To apply please attach a letter of motivation, curriculum vitae and (email) addresses of two referees.
Application deadline is 18-11-2015
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