PhD Fellowship Tumour-selective Targeting of Innate Immune Checkpoints 2019, University of Groningen, Netherlands

University of Groningen


April 30, 2019


Opportunity Cover Image - PhD Fellowship Tumour-selective Targeting of Innate Immune Checkpoints 2019, University of Groningen, Netherlands

PhD-student (ESR2): Tumour-selective targeting of innate immune checkpoints

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, for another 18 months. At the UMCG, new checkpoint targeting immunotherapeutics will be constructed, developed and preclinically evaluated. After 18 months, the candidate will continue in Berlin / Germany at the nanobiotechnology company Surflay Nanotec GmbH. Surflay is a leading company in nanoparticle formulation, microparticle design and binding analysis using whispering galley mode. The candidate will exploit this expertise for further formulation of checkpoint immunotherapeutics and analysis of mode of action. 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

Cancer immunomodulation by tumour-selective targeting of innate immune checkpoints
This PhD student position offers an exciting and innovative research project that aims to develop targeting of innate immune checkpoints for cancer immunotherapy. In brief, novel bispecific antibody-based approaches that selectively remove important checkpoints, such as CD47/SIRPalpha interaction, on innate immunity at the site of the cancer will be developed. Herewith, we aim to reactivate innate as well as adaptive immunity through enhanced antigen presentation and, thereby, trigger curative anticancer immunity. These immunotherapeutics 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 cell-selective binding and functional immunomodulatory activity. This research project will end with a PhD thesis defense at the University of Groningen.

Keywords: innate immunity, 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, chemistry, biochemistry, biotechnology, engineering or related
  • Collaboration skills, demonstrating agility and initiative. Ability to communicate fluently and 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: Surflay, Berlin, Germany, duration: 18 months. Intended start date: June 2019 . Benefits according to EU MCA regulations.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:

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Publish Date
March 24, 2019