PhD-student (ESR1): tumour-selective PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapy and drug delivery

Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen

Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen

PhD student
Regio Groningen
Tijdelijke aanstelling
Niet nader bepaald


Working environment

The PhD candidate will be working as part of an international consortium on their search for an immunotherapeutic approach to cancer treatment and will start their 3 year research project at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) / Netherlands, one of the leading academic centers of the Netherlands. At the UMCG, new PD-1 checkpoint targeting immunotherapeutic will be developed and preclinically evaluated. After 18 months, the candidate will continue in Prague / Czech Republic at the nanobiotechnology company Inocure SRO. Inocure is a leading company in drug formulation and in in vitro modelling and the candidate will exploit this expertise for further development of PD-1 checkpoint immunotherapeutics. With this project, the candidate will acquire experience in both industrial and academic research.

This project is part of a collaborative training network of 10 closely related projects ( in which PhD students will benefit from networking opportunities. This includes a multidisciplinary training programme with network-wide training events that will be provided to the candidates. Herewith, the PhD project will provide the candidate a unique opportunity to obtain knowledge/expertise on important facets of both academia and industry.

Job description

Development and preclinical validation of tumour-selective PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapeutics and drug delivery systems
This PhD student position offers an exciting and innovative research project aimed at further development of targeting of the PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint for cancer immunotherapy. In brief, a novel bispecific antibody-based approach that selectively removes this important checkpoint at the site of the cancer will be developed. Further, the immunotherapeutic will be formulated in state-of-the-art Drug Delivery Systems (DDS) to ensure timely and tumor-localized release of bioactive drug. This approach will be tested in in-house developed model systems for tumor-selective binding and functional immunomodulatory activity. This research project will end with a PhD thesis defense at the University of Groningen.

Keywords: checkpoint targeting, bispecific antibody, nanoparticles, surface modification, drug-delivery

Key Responsibilities
  • Preparation of tumour-targeted bsAbs & immunocytokines
  • Nanoparticle-based drug-delivery formulation
  • Primary patient-derived cell culturing
  • Development of 3D model of tumor micro-environment
  • Various encapsulation and surface modification activities
  • Optimization of the in vitro test conditions for a realistic simulation of the in vivo conditions
  • Management, presentation and publication of research data

What do we need

  • You are in the first four years of your research career and does not have a doctoral degree
  • Residence duration in the Netherlands does not exceed 12 months in total within the last 3 years
  • MSc in biology, biochemistry, biotechnology, engineering or related
  • Collaboration skills, demonstrating agility and initiative. Ability to communicate effectively in English

The UMCG has a preventive Hepatitis B policy. The UMCG can provide you with the vaccination, should it be required for your position.

In case of specific professions a ‘Certificate of Good Conduct’ is required.

What do we offer

A PhD student position for 3 years as part of a Marie Curie Actions Innovative Industrial Doctorate training network. 1st Hosting institution: Location: UMCG, Groningen, The Netherlands, duration: 18 months. 2nd Hosting institution: Location: InoCure, Prague, Czech Republic , duration: 18 months. Intended start date: April 2019. Benefits according to EU MCA regulations.

Applying for a job
Please send your application to as job application ESR1 PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapy. The application deadline is 28 February 2019.
(please do not use the digital application form)

Applying for a job

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