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PhD student on improving targeted radionuclide therapy through modulation of the DNA damage response

  • 04.10.19.TBW
  • 36 hours per week
  • Moleculaire Genetica

Job description

Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) for metastasized neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) is successful in terms of anti-tumor response, increased progression-free survival and improved quality of life. Still few patients can be cured at this stage of the disease. This indicates that there is a clinical need for improvement of PRRT. In this preclinical research project, different approaches to overcome the current limitations of PRRT will be investigated. Effectivity, specificity and toxicity of PRRT combination therapy with DNA damage repair inhibitors will be tested to increase NET cell killing without increasing radiation-induced side effects. Furthermore, differential therapy responses between patients will be measured in tumor tissues to identify biomarkers that can be used for patient stratification.

The PhD candidate will focus on the preclinical improvement of PRRT using in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo tumor models. To this end, the candidate will employ a multidisciplinary approach, using various molecular biology assays (incl. CRISPR-Cas9 technology), next generation sequencing, histology, (live) confocal microscopy and small animal imaging (SPECT/CT/optical).

Work environment

The Erasmus MC stands for a healthy population and excellence in healthcare. By conducting groundbreaking work, we aim to push boundaries through leading the way in research, education and healthcare. We have a high level of expertise, and work hard to improve and renew the healthcare of today and the public health of tomorrow. We have access to the latest equipment and techniques in a state-of-the-art environment.

The candidate will be positioned with a dual appointment at the Department of Molecular Genetics and the Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine in the research team of Dr. J. Nonnekens. The group uses a multidisciplinary approach to advance understanding of the underlying cellular mechanisms of radionuclide therapies with the aim to improve current treatment regimens or invent new ones.

The Department of Molecular Genetics has a long history and strong world-wide reputation in understanding mechanisms of disease formation from the molecular level to physiological processes in the body in the context of cancer, aging and aging-related diseases. Multidisciplinary research teams perform basic and applied research ranging from the single molecule level up to complete organisms and patient derived materials employing state-of-the-art technologies, including genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, bioimaging and transgenesis.

The Department of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine is dedicated to high quality patient care, education, and research. Concerning research, the department is known for its forefront research and its state-of-the-art facilities, such as the Applied Molecular Imaging Erasmus MC (AMIE) small animal imaging platform. PRRT was developed in the department and the preclinical research group has successfully developed and tested various other new radiopharmaceuticals from bench to bedside. The candidate will be offered excellent training and supervision platform through a dedicated teaching program of our Graduate school ‘Biomedical Sciences. More information about the research activities of the lab can be found here.

Qualifications and skills

We are looking for a highly motivated and talented candidate that holds a MSc degree in Biomedical Science, Molecular/Cellular Biology, Oncology or related field with a basic knowledge of the DNA damage response. Experience with standard molecular biology techniques, (live) cell confocal imaging, animal experimentation and radionuclide handling will be an advantage. Excellent writing and presentation skills in English are a prerequisite. As you will work in a dynamic international research environment we need a team-player who is able to combine independent thinking with a collaborative attitude.

Being able to present a certificate of good conduct, a valid proof of identity, diploma's and/ or relevant registration such as BIG/ RGS are conditions for the appointment.

Terms of employment

You will receive a temporary position for 4 years. The gross monthly salary is € 2.357 ,- in the 1st year and increases to €3.020,- in the 4th year (scale OIO). The terms of employment are according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement for Dutch University Medical Centers (CAO UMC).

Information and application

For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Julie Nonnekens, project leader, e-mail: For queries regarding your application, please contact Jerry Chandansingh, Recruiter, phone number: +31 (0)10 704 49 83.

Please apply by using the apply button. Your application must include the following documents: cover letter explaining your motivation and suitability for the position; CV/resume including your final marks; research projects and other relevant experience; contact information of 2 senior scientists or principle investigators as references, willing to provide recommendation letters or inquiry.

No agencies please.