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PhD-student (ESR9): Cancer immunotherapy using Dual Signalling Proteins (DSPs)

DepartmentDept. of Hematology
Apply no later than31 March 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 at Kahr Medical (KM) in Jerusalem/ Israel. KM is a leading drug-discovery company focused on the TNFR superfamily, with a unique portfolio. The candidate will design and develop several new DSPs and define mode of action. 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, the new DSP will be validated for immunotherapeutic activity in primary patient-derived culture systems as well in mouse models. 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, the PhD project will provide the candidate a unique opportunity to obtain knowledge/expertise on important facets of both academia and industry.

Job description

Development of immunomodulatory Dual Signalling Proteins (DSPs) for cancer immunotherapy
This PhD student position offers an exciting and innovative research project that aims to develop to develop a new class of immunotherapeutics, termed Dual Signalling Proteins (DSPs), and will end with a PhD thesis. Each DSP is designed to block a candidate checkpoint molecule in the cancer micro-environment, such as CD47, while also activating costimulatory TNF superfamily receptors on immune cells in the tumour micro-environment. These new DSPs have multiple functionalities and have the potential to become the next-generation of cancer immunotherapy. This approach will be tested in model systems in vitro and in vivo for tumor-selective and functional immunomodulatory activity. This research project will end with a PhD thesis defense at the University of Groningen.

Keywords: innate immunity, checkpoint targeting, TNFR superfamily, tumor-selective, immunotherapy

Key Responsibilities:

  • Preparation of Dual Signaling Proteins (DSPs)
  • Production and purification and biochemical characterization
  • Developmet of proof-of-concept assays for individual DSPs
  • Primary patient-derived cell culturing
  • In vivo efficacy and safety studies using DSPs in primary patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models
  • 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 Israel does not exceed 12 months in total within the last 3 years
  • MSc in biology, 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: KM, Jerusalem, Israel, duration: 18 months. 2nd Hosting institution: Location: UMCG, Groningen, the Netherlands, duration: 18 months. Intended start date: May 2019. Benefits according to EU MCA regulations.

Applying for a job
Please send your application to Contact as job application ESR9 Cancer immunotherapy using Dual Signalling Proteins (DSPs). The application deadline is 31 March 2019.
(please do not use the digital application form)