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PhD-student (ESR4): Stimuli-sensotive particles for TIM-3/Galectin-9 targeting

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DepartmentDept. of Hematology
Apply no later than30 April 2019

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, development of drug delivery systems (DDS) and binding analysis using whispering galley mode. 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 (www.i-direct-itn.eu) 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 stimuli-sensotive particles for tumour-selective targeting of TIM-3/Galectin-9
This PhD student position offers an exciting and innovative research project that aims to develop targeting of the TIM-3/Galectin-9 immune checkpoint for cancer immunotherapy and will result in a PhD thesis. Research by the UMCG has uncovered immunostimulatory effects of Gal-9 as well as direct anti-tumour cytotoxic activity of Gal-9. However, Gal-9 has pleiotropic functions and its therapeutic activity needs to be restricted to the tumour micro-environment. In this project, the development of tumour-selective nanoparticles with Gal9 and/or bispecific antibodies is pursued for cancer immunotherapy. This research project will end with a PhD thesis defense at the University of Groningen.


Keywords: Drug-delivery, Galectin-9, surface modification nanoparticles, microparticles, bioanalysis

Key Responsibilities:

  • Development and characterization of tumor-selective nanoparticles by means of immobilizing antibodies on the particle surface or within porous particles
  • Further optimization of the particle properties for long-term drug release and specific targeting of Galectin-9
  • Development and optimization of polymeric scaffolds for realistic cell growth conditions
  • Immobilization of selected proteins and antibodies on or within particles using layer-by-layer deposited polymer networks / hollow capsules
  • Ensuring controlled delivery of particles to targets and a controlled release of immobilized active material on-target via suitable triggers (pH, etc.)
  • Various encapsulation, release 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 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
  • Proven track record in one or more of the following fields:

Drug-delivery systems
Encapsulation and release of biomolecules
Surface modification and functionalization, nanoscale coatings, polymer systems
Nanoparticle / microparticle synthesis
Analysis of biomolecular interactions e.g. protein-protein, antibody-antigen
Biosensors and bioanalysis

  • Collaboration skills, demonstrating agility and initiative. Ability to communicate fluently and effectively in English
  • 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: June 2019. Benefits according to EU MCA regulations.

Applying for a job
Please send your application to Contact as job application ESR4 Stimuli-sensotive particles for TIM-3/Galectin-9 targeting. The application deadline is 30 April 2019.;
(please do not use the digital application form)