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Cardiologie Erasmus MC

PhD candidate to study the bone marrow microenvironment in leukemia

  • Closing date 31-07-2024
  • 27.13.24.TDdH
  • 36 hours
  • Research university
  • Research & Education
  • Closing date 31-07-2024
  • 27.13.24.TDdH

Job description

Cancer is often preceded by a chain of premalignant disease stages that differ in their potential for progression. Acquired driver mutations previously linked to leukemia provide hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) with a growth advantage over their unmutated counterparts leading to a detectable clonal expansion in the bone marrow and blood, which on its own is insufficient for the development of frank leukemia. The growth advantage gained partially derives from the acquired driver mutation, but can be exacerbated by cell-extrinsic signals, such as inflammation. Inflammation and aging are intricately linked and are often associated with the development and progression of cancer. Age-related inflammation in the bone marrow drives HSC dysfunction, however, mounting evidence indicates that HSCs carrying driver mutations benefit from this inflammatory milieu and could promote even greater levels of inflammation, further disadvantaging their unmutated counterparts and increasing the risk of disease progression. Our work indicates that particular subtypes of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) exhibit greater levels of bone marrow inflammation, thereby contribution to disease development and progression. While inflammation can derive from diverse sources, understanding the dependencies between cell-intrinsic versus cell-extrinsic effects in AML is crucial for developing new treatment strategies that can decouple this unwanted alliance.
Your work builds on recent publications from our lab centered on the utilization of single cell (pubmed ID: 37470778) and spatial multiomics (pubmed ID: 36450981) in the context of cancer research. Using cutting-edge technology, you will investigate the cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic drivers of AML. Molecular state-of-the-art technologies, like the genotyping of single cells and spatial multiomics, and bioinformatics are key elements in the approaches used to investigate the pathobiology behind AML in this project. The aim is to understand to what degree and through which mechanisms leukemic cells depend on cell-intrinsic signals, and which cellular components of the bone marrow and extra-cellular signals contribute to leukemia. You will work in an interdisciplinary research team that includes a comprehensive mix of relevant research backgrounds, including molecular biology, genome editing, bioinformatics and single cell technologies. Furthermore, you will be able to gain experience with a wide range of quantitative research methods and the presentation of research findings with the international community.

Work environment

The department of hematology has pioneered innovative methods to understand on a molecular and cellular level the basis of hematological disease. You will join a department engaged in a myriad of exciting research topics with the overall aim to delineate the pathogenesis of acute leukemia and multiple myeloma. Our research is well-supported by genomic and clinical data for thousands of patients, providing an unprecedented opportunity to perform innovative research. We operate as a multidisciplinary team that combines the expertise from biologists, clinicians and bioinformaticians. Combining our vast biobank with cutting-edge technology is at the heart of our strategy to make discoveries that impact the routine practice of patient care. 
Our team aims to understand the underlying mechanisms that drive leukemia. We conduct hypothesis-driven research to uncover these mechanisms in collaboration with professionals in health and international scientific collaborators. Furthermore, we develop and implement novel molecular technologies to investigate this conundrum from different perspectives. All materials and technologies required, including samples and technologies for single cell transcriptomics, spatial multiomics and long-read sequencing are present in our department.

Qualifications and skills

  • Applicants should have a Master of Science degree with a background in Biology, Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics or any other field that has affinity with basic/translational research and computational biology.
  • You have hands-on experience in analyzing large data volumes and performing molecular biological assays. Support from a Research Technician and a Bioinformatics core is present.
  • Your oral and written communication skills in English are excellent.
  • You have affinity with quantitative research and want to acquire further experience in advanced data analysis and writing of scientific papers.
  • You are a highly motivated candidate that is able to work well both independently and within a team.
  • The department highly supports candidates who want to develop their skills in collaboration, leadership, goal-oriented working, creativity, initiative, engagement, vision, and visibility.
  • At least one reference must be provided to verify your work experience and past conduct.

Before you apply please check our conditions for employment.

Terms of employment

  • You will receive a temporary position for 4 years.
  • The gross monthly salary is € 3.017,- in the 1st year and increases to € 3.824,- in the 4th year (scale OIO).
  • Excellent fringe benefits, such as a 13th month that is already paid out in November and an individual travel expense package.
  • An International Office which aids you in preparing for you arrival and stay.
  • Pension insurance with ABP, we take care of approximately 2/3 of the monthly contribution.
  • Special benefits, such as an in-company physiotherapist and bicycle repairer. There is also a gym where you can work on your fitness after work.

More information

If you are excited by the thought of this position and would like to apply, please do so by using the application form on our website.

For more information about this position, please contact Mathijs Sanders, group leader/ bioinformatician, 010 704 37 69.

No agencies please.

Application proces

Application proces



Step 1 - Apply

Did we get you excited about this position? Submit your application through the application button. You will receive a confirmation of receipt from our recruiter right away.



Step 2 - Selection

Based on your application, we check to see if there is a fit between us. We will let you know as soon as possible whether you are invited for an interview.


Job interview

Step 3 - Job interview

You have been invited for an interview, great! In this first meeting we get to know each other and see if You can form an idea of the position, the department and Erasmus MC. If the interview goes well usually a second interview follows.


Offer and terms of employment

Step 4 - Offer and terms of employment

It’s a match! Your future manager will discuss your salary and employment with you. You will also receive more information about our other terms of employment.


Getting started

Step 5 - Getting started

Your first working day has come! We are more than happy to have you. Your new department will give you a warm welcome and provide you with all the information you need. Enjoy your job at Erasmus MC!

Contact me

Rodger Takken

Rodger Takken
Erasmus MC

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Erasmus MC is an international leading academic hospital in Rotterdam. We are recognized as a world-class scientific research organization aiming to improve our understanding of diseases and disorders and helps to predict, treat and prevent them. We have access to the latest equipment and techniques. A working environment that gets the best out of people.

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Apply for PhD candidate to study the bone marrow microenvironment in leukemia