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PhD Fellowship Targeted Modulation of the Adenosine Checkpoint 2019, University of Groningen, Netherlands

Publish Date: Mar 24, 2019

Deadline: Jul 31, 2019

PhD-student (ESR3): Targeted modulation of the adenosine checkpoint

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 in Berlin / Germany at the nanobiotechnology company Surflay Nanotec GmbH. Surflay is a leading company in microparticle design and binding analysis using whispering galley mode and development of Drug Delivery Systems (DDS). After 18 months, the candidate will continue at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) / Netherlands, one of the leading academic centers of the Netherlands, for another 18 months. At the UMCG, functional immunomodulatory activity of the new therapeutic approach will be performed using patient-derived tumor and immune cells. 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, this project will yield the candidate a unique opportunity to obtain knowledge/expertise on important facets of academia and industry.

Job description

Development of Adenosine-2A-Receptor (A2AR)-targeting bispecific antibodies and preclinical validation tools

This challenging PhD opportunity offers an exciting and innovative research project at the intersection of biotechnology and physical chemistry that will end in a PhD thesis. In brief, a novel bispecific antibody-based approach that removes an important checkpoint on anticancer T cell immunity, namely inhibition by A2AR signaling, will be developed. This approach will be tested in several in-house developed model systems, including microparticles with tumor surface properties, for tumor-selective binding and for functional immunomodulatory activity. This research project will end with a PhD thesis defense at the University of Groningen.

Keywords: Bioanalysis, microparticles, nanoparticles, surface modification, drug-delivery, bispecific antibodies

Key Responsibilities:

Preparation of tumour-targeted bsAbs and nanoparticle-based drug-delivery formulations

Analysis of biomolecular interactions between model tumor cells and drug-delivery vesicles (nanoparticles loaded with T-cell targeting immunocytokines/bispecific antibodies)

Development of model tumor cells by means of microparticle synthesis, coating and bio-functionalization

Various encapsulation and surface modification activities

Operation, optimization and further development of a bioanalysis platform that uses functionalized microparticles (model tumor cells) as sensors (Measurement principle: Whispering Gallery Modes)

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 Germany does not exceed 12 months in total within the last 3 years

MSc in chemistry, biochemistry, biotechnology, engineering or related

Proven track record in one or more of the following fields:

Absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy

Analysis of biomolecular interactions e.g. protein-protein, antibody-antigen

Biosensors and bioanalysis (Surface Plasmon Resonance, Quartz Crystal Microbalance, Whispering Gallery Modes)

Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy, Flow Cytometry

Surface modification and functionalization, nanoscale coatings

Nanoparticle / microparticle synthesis

Drug-delivery systems

Affinity to data management and IT

Collaboration skills, demonstrating agility and initiative. Ability to communicate effectively in English, both internally in the team as well as with consortium partners

German language or the willingness to learn German is advantageous

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: Surflay, Berlin, Germany, duration: 18 months. 2nd Hosting institution: Location: UMCG, Groningen, Netherlands, duration: 18 months. Intended start date: September 2019. Benefits according to EU MCA regulations.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:

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