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Postdoctoral position in cancer treatment-induced neurocognitive decline

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DepartmentRadiation Oncology
Work locationGroningen
Apply no later than15 September 2019

Working environment

The University of Groningen and the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) offer an excellent working environment for high quality biomedical research. The postdoctoral researcher will be appointed at the Department of Radiation Oncology at the UMCG, while working within the section of Molecular Cell Biology at the Department of Biomedical Sciences of Cells and Systems. This research project is headed by Dr. Lara Barazzuol, whose group’s main research interest is investigating the effects of DNA damage and radiation on the brain, and Dr. Steven Bergink, whose group focusses on the relationship between genome instability and protein quality control. This research project is highly multi-disciplinary, providing exposure to a range of subjects ranging from molecular biology, neuroscience and bioinformatics.

Job description

Project description
When using radiotherapy for the treatment of brain tumours, damage to normal brain tissue is an unavoidable side effect. This can severely diminish the neurocognitive function of patients, especially in cases of paediatric brain tumours with a progressive IQ decline of over 14 points after treatment.
The link between radiotherapy, which mainly acts by damaging the DNA, and neuropathology is poorly understood and, at present, there is no effective treatment. However, it is widely accepted that the process of protein aggregation can cause age-related neurodegenerative diseases. The aim of this project is: (1) to test the hypothesis that DNA damage in human brain cells triggers the process of protein aggregation; and (2) to assess whether DNA damage-induced protein aggregation and subsequent neuronal dysfunction can be reduced by modulating Protein Quality Control (PQC) pathways, in particular molecular chaperones and autophagy.
To achieve this, we will employ a combination of methodologies including human brain organoids, RNA sequencing, genetic and drug-mediated PQC modulation.

What do we need

We are looking for an excellent, highly motivated postdoctoral candidate with strong laboratory skills and preferably with a background in protein quality control and/or DNA damage and repair. Additional experience in bioinformatics, embryonic or induced-pluripotent stem cells and brain organoids would be favourable.

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

Your salary will be a maximum of € 4,481 gross per month (scale 10), depending on your qualifications and relevant experience, based on a full-time appointment.
In addition, the UMCG will offer you 8% holiday pay, an 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
The conditions of employment comply with the Collective Labour Agreement for Medical Centres (CAO-UMC). English: http://www.nfu.nl/english/about-the-nfu/

This project is funded by KWF and Alpe d'HuZes. The duration of the project is 18 months with the possibility of further extension depending on funding.

More information
For more information about this position please contact:
Dr. Lara Barazzuol, Group Leader at the Dept. of Radiation Oncology and the Dept. of Biomedical Sciences of Cells and Systems, telephone: +316 2420 7348, email: Contact (please do not use for applying)
Dr. Steven Bergink, Group Leader at the Dept. of Biomedical Sciences of Cells and Systems, telephone: +316 2564 6750, email: Contact (please do not use for applying)

Applying for a job

Please use the the digital application form at the bottom of this page - only these will be processed.
The application form requires:

  • A short motivation letter; please include why you are interested in this position.
  • A copy of your CV.
  • The names and contact information of two references.

You can apply until 15 September 2019.
Within half an hour after sending the digital application form you will receive an email- confirmation with further information.