PhD student ERIBA and CEHA

36 hours a week

Closing date: August 1

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Unique and exciting opportunity to perform a PhD study between the European Research Institute for the Biology of Aging (ERIBA) in Groningen, the Netherlands and the Center for Healthy Aging (CEHA) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

A PhD position is available for a collaboration between the Laboratory of Prof. Marco Demaria at the ERIBA, part of the UMC Groningen (UMCG), the Netherlands and the laboratory of Prof. Lene Juel Rasmussen at the CEHA, part of the University of Copenhagen (UCPH). The project is focusing on the role of mitochondria in age-associated senescence.

Aging is associated to a widespread deterioration of the functional capacities of an organism. Among major regulators of tissue integrity and dysfunction are mitochondrial activity and cellular senescence. Tissues with high metabolic activity are more susceptible to mitochondrial dysfunction. Decline in mitochondrial function provokes a decline in nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) levels, notably affecting the activity the NAD+-dependent sirtuins. This dysfunction may also lead to increased inflammation, as well as altered apoptosis and disrupted crosstalk among organelles. Cellular senescence represents a state of stable proliferative arrest triggered by damaging signals which include mitochondrial dysfunctions. Senescent cells acquire peculiar characteristics, such as a hypersecretory phenotype (SASP). The SASP contributes to tissue deterioration and chronic inflammation, eventually supporting the progression of age-related disease and dysfunctions. Oxygen partial pressure (pO2) varies profoundly between and within organs and mammalian cells have evolved programmed responses to oxygen concentrations. These pathways have profound effects on mitochondria and senescence-associated features.

The goal of this project is based on findings originating in the two laboratories and is to define how oxygen-dependent mitochondrial modulations affect the physiological and pathological function of senescent cells during aging and disease. Specific objectives are:

  • to identify mitochondrial perturbations that affect the senescence phenotype upon oxygen oscillations;
  • to monitor the relationship between mitochondrial activity, cellular senescence and longevity;
  • to investigate the mitochondrial-driven mechanisms promoting pro-aging features in senescent cells.


The PhD student will spend equal time in the two laboratories and should have the following requirements:

  • Education/skills: MSc in Molecular/Medical Biology, Cellular Biology or Biochemistry.
  • Experience in a wide variety of molecular and cellular biology techniques (e.g. qPCR, FACS, Western blots, histology).
  • Experience working with rodents is desired.
  • Developed skills in R programming and large datasets analysis is a plus.
  • Should be enthusiastic, ambitious, and organized.
  • Collaborative, communication and networking skills are mandatory.

About the ERIBA/UMCG

The central theme at the ERIBA is the molecular mechanism of (cellular) ageing. We aim to identify physiological and molecular changes that can explain the loss of cells and functional decline of cells and tissues with age. For this, we make use of state of the art technology and a variety of model organisms. Furthermore, we heavily invest in Systems Biology to integrate our findings in the various mechanisms of ageing that have been proposed. The ERIBA is housed in a brand new building and part of the central UMCG campus in central Groningen, a small (200.000 inhabitants) but vibrant city (with over 25.000 students) in the north of the Netherlands.

About the CEHA/UCPH
The Center for Healthy Aging (CEHA) at UCPH is a network of research units among the world-leading interdisciplinary research centres aiming at the study of biological, psychological, social, and cultural factors that influence health and wellbeing at an individual and a societal level. CEHA harbours state-of-the-art laboratory facilities for the study of molecular mechanisms regulating aging and is a host to world-renown aging researchers.

Conditions of employment

It concerns a full time work week (36 hours) for a period of four years to be concluded with a PhD examination. After one year, the performance of the candidate will be evaluated to decide whether there is sufficient progress to expect a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the coming three years. You will work flexible in Groningen as well as in Copenhagen. You will receive a bursary of € 2.249,- gross per month, this leads to a payout of € 1.954,- a month.

More information
For additional information, you may contact:

  • Dr. Marco Demaria, e-mail address:

How to apply
Full applications including a motivation letter, your resume and two contacts for reference letters will receive full consideration if received before August 2, 2021. Please use the the digital application form at the bottom of this page - only these will be processed, applications using the indicated email-address will not be processed.

Within half an hour after sending the digital application form you will receive an email- confirmation with further information.

For questions about the position

Any questions? Do contact us.

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Nina van Venrooij
Nina van Venrooij Team Recruitment