PhD position

36 hours a week
€ 3.017 - € 3.824

Closing date: June 17

Posted on

Harnessing regulatory T cells to monitor disease progression in autoimmune vasculitis

Job description

The department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology at the UMCG, in close collaboration with Nephrology and Pathology & Medical Biology as the "Vasculitis Expertise Center Groningen," is looking for a PhD student. In this position, you will conduct research in the area of ANCA-associated vasculitides (AAV), focusing on the role of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in disease progression and treatment response. Are you the motivated and enthusiastic candidate with a background in immunology or related fields we are looking for? We would like to get to know you!

The project is a continuation of ongoing research into the dysregulation of immune tolerance in AAV, particularly concerning the role of Tregs. AAV are rare, chronic, relapsing autoimmune diseases characterized by inflammation of small blood vessels, commonly affecting the kidneys, lungs, and upper airways. Dysregulation of immune tolerance and the presence of anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies (ANCA) contribute to tissue damage in AAV. While immunosuppressive therapies have improved outcomes, AAV remains a chronic and relapsing condition. Identifying patients at risk of relapse poses a significant challenge.

We have previously reported that in AAV, the regulation of immunity by Tregs is disturbed. Whether this can be attributed to numerical differences, impaired function, or both is still under debate. In this translational project, we will use advanced techniques, like deep phenotyping and transcriptomic analysis, to explore phenotypic signatures that reflect intrinsic changes in Treg features in AAV. The overarching objective of this project is to identify distinct Treg characteristics in AAV patients that can serve as warning signs to identify individuals at risk of relapse and facilitate the monitoring of disease progression and treatment response. The project is sponsored by the Dutch Society of Rheumatology (ReumaNederland).

As a PhD student in this project, you will employ advanced techniques such as multiparameter spectral flow cytometry and (single cell) RNA sequencing to perform an in-depth assessment of phenotypic features, transcriptomic signatures, and functional characteristics of Treg subsets. You will investigate their association with disease status and treatment response in patients with AAV.

If you are passionate about immunology and eager to contribute to advancements in the treatment and understanding of autoimmune diseases, we encourage you to apply for this exciting opportunity.

Working environment

The department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) is recognized as a center of excellence in rheumatology by the European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology (EULAR). Our department cooperates with the departments of Nephrology and Pathology & Medical Biology in the "Vasculitis Expertise Center Groningen." At our expertise center, patients are seen that suffer from the entire range of clinical immunological diseases, with particular expertise in large and small-vessel vasculitides.

Research within the "Vasculitis Expertise Center Groningen" focuses on both clinical and translational research and has made significant contributions to the diagnosis, treatment, and understanding of the pathogenesis of vasculitis. The research is embedded within the Personalized medicine research institute Groningen (PRECISION), ensuring that our findings translate into tailored therapies that improve patient outcomes.

The University of Groningen (RUG) and the UMCG offer an excellent working environment for high-quality biomedical research and scientific training. UMCG is known for its state-of-the-art facilities, collaborative research environment, and strong support for career development, providing a fertile ground for innovative and impactful research.

What do we need

We are seeking a highly motivated candidate with a strong affinity for both the experimental and theoretical aspects of immunological research. The ideal candidate will possess sound immunological knowledge and demonstrate excellent communication skills, fluency in English (both written and spoken), and the ability to work independently as well as part of a team.

The successful candidate should hold a Master's degree in biological sciences or a related field. Experience with cell sorting/culture, multiparameter flow cytometry staining/analysis, and data analysis in R are highly desirable.

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

This position concerns a temporary position for 4 years on a fulltime basis (36 hours/week) with a formal evaluation after one year. The salary ranges from a minimum of € 3.017 ,- gross per month in the first year to a maximum of € 3.824 ,- gross per month in the final year, based on a full-time appointment. The conditions of employment comply with the CAO Universitair Medische Centra (CAO-UMC)

For questions about the position

Any questions? Do contact us.

How to apply

Please use the the digital application form at the bottom of this page - only these will be processed.
You can apply until 17 June 2024.
Within half an hour after sending the digital application form you will receive an email- confirmation with further information.


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