PhD Candidate in Molecular Cell Biology

Faculty of Science – Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences

31 augustus 2017
Master's degree
€2,222 to €2,840 gross per month
30 september 2017
38 hours per week

The Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS) is one of the Faculty of Science’s largest institutes. Its approximately 240 scientists and staff members work in 16 research groups that perform excellent research centered on three themes: 1) Cell & Sytems Biology, 2) Neurosciences, and 3) Molecular Life Sciences.

The research performed in the section Molecular Cytology focusses on 'Self-organization and signaling in living cells'. In this context we are seeking for an enthusiastic and talented PhD candidate who likes to work in a multi-disciplinary team of scientists.

Project description

Immune cells permeate blood vessel walls to cure inflamed surrounding tissue in case of inflammations (for a movie of this process see: White blood cell passing a layer of endothelial cells). At the same time, the leakage of fluid and macromolecules must be limited in order to maintain the vascular homeostasis. It is becoming increasingly clear that highly controlled, local re-organization of endothelial cell shape is essential for transendothelial migration (TEM). However, exactly how the passage of immune cells is orchestrated and how, at the same time, the endothelial barrier function remains intact is largely unknown.

This project aims at understanding how local and global signaling in endothelial cells by RhoGTPases regulates the endothelial barrier function during transendothelial migration of leukocytes. To this end, we will combine a realistic in vitro model of TEM-under-flow with state-of-the-art functional imaging techniques and perturbation methods to measure and control the location and timing of RhoGTPase activity. With this unique approach, we will be able to reveal the local signaling events that at the same time coordinate transendothelial migration and endothelial barrier function in unprecedented detail. The project will be performed in close collaboration with the Molecular Cell Biology lab in the department of Plasma Proteins of Sanquin.

The project involves molecular biology (cloning), eukaryotic cell culture, fluorescent biosensor engineering and imaging, optogenetics and advanced microscopy.

The project is funded by a grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).


Candidates should have a Master’s degree in Biochemistry, Biophysics, or Cell biology (or equivalent), have good communication skills and be highly motivated to conduct fundamental scientific research in a multidisciplinary team of enthusiastic scientists. Experience with advanced imaging methods, optogenetics, image/data analysis or a programming language, is a plus.

Further information

Project information may be obtained from:


The appointment will be on a temporary basis for a period of 4 years (initial appointment will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it can be extended for a total duration of 4 years) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. The PhD candidate is also expected to assist in teaching of undergraduates.

Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from €2,222 in the first year to €2,840 in the last year. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable.

Job Application

Due to limitations in recruitment budget we will only consider candidates that are currently in Europe. Please do not respond if you are not in this continent.

Applications may only be submitted by electronic mail via To enable us to process your application immediately, please quote vacancy number 17-436 and the position you are applying for in the subject-line.

Applications must include a curriculum vitae and a letter of motivation. Please combine these documents in one single attachment and also mention the months (not just years) in your CV when referring to your education and work experience.

Applications will be accepted until 30 September 2017.

No agencies please

Gepubliceerd door  Universiteit van Amsterdam