Vacancies 66821-PhD-candidate-drug-repositioning-of-leflunomide-for-the-treatment-of-common-inflammatory-skin-

  • 36 hours a week
  • Temporary
  • 4 years
  • Date of publication: 1 April 2019
  • Deadline: 29 April 2019
  • Scale 10A: max € 42220 gross per year at full employment (incl. vacation bonus and end of year payments)
  • First interview scheduled: in week 19 2019
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Job description

We are looking for a highly motivated and ambitious experimental molecular/cell biologist to work on an internally funded project that is coordinated by two departments in Nijmegen, and involves a stay abroad at the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State, USA). The PhD candidate will join the Laboratory for Experimental Dermatology at the Department of Dermatology and the Department of Molecular Developmental Biology, both affiliated to the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (RIMLS)  in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

We offer a first class international and translational research environment. This combined research project between the Laboratory for Experimental Dermatology and the Department of Molecular Developmental Biology covers state-of-the-art techniques as 3D organotypic tissue culturing, microscopy, (single cell) Next-Generation Sequencing techniques (RNA-seq, ATAC-seq, ChIP-seq), and computational analyses. The PhD student is expected to join an internationally renowned research group at the Pennsylvania State University (USA) for a 6-month stay to perform in vivo animal studies.

The aim of this project is to gather the necessary biological evidence and working mechanisms for the drug repositioning of leflunomide for the treatment of common inflammatory skin diseases like atopic dermatitis (eczema) and psoriasis. Based on the recent finding that leflunomide activates a transcription factor called aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) we hypothesize that leflunomide-induced AHR activation in the skin is a novel anti-inflammatory mechanism of action and that the topical therapy with leflunomide may be indicated for the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases. We will dissect leflunomide’s molecular mechanism by analyses of transcriptomics (RNA-seq and single cell RNA-seq) and epigenomics (ChIP-seq and ATAC-seq) using biologically relevant organotypic skin cultures and we will perform a pre-clinical characterization of the in vivo therapeutic effects of leflunomide on skin inflammation using animal models.

These fundamental insights should culminate into proof-of-concept data for clinical studies. During this 4-year PhD project you will master key technological advances with a clear relevance for future patient care and you will also have the opportunity to develop novel ideas and work on projects that aligns with our research interests. Herein you will be fostered by clinical- and molecular biology orientated mentors.

Are you a highly motivated and socially engaged young molecular/ cell biologist that can easily switch between two work places? Do you have the ambition to perform research abroad? Apply for a PhD position within our research groups!


  • A master degree in molecular or cellular biology, molecular life sciences or related field;
  • Experience in one or more of the following areas: molecular biology and cell biology techniques, cell culture, generation and analysis of Next Generation Sequencing data, single cell approaches, (mammalian) genomics and gene regulation;
  • Experience in computational analysis using Linux and computer languages (e.g. Python) is preferred but not required;
  • Strong social and communication skills are required to be able to bridge two research fields and manage an interdisciplinary project at two separate departments;
  • Strong analytical skills, a problem-solving and an result-oriented attitude;
  • Good communication skills in written and spoken English.


Radboudumc strives to be a leading developer of sustainable, innovative and affordable healthcare to improve the health and wellbeing of people and society in the Netherlands and beyond. This is the core of our mission: To have a significant impact on healthcare. To get a better picture of what this entails, check out our strategy.

Read more about what it means to work at Radboudumc and how you can do your part.

Employment conditions

Upon commencement of employment we require a certificate of conduct (Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag, VOG) and there will be, depending on the type of job, a screening based on the provided cv. Radboud university medical center’s HR Department will apply for this certificate on your behalf.

Read more about the Radboudumc employment conditions and what our International Office can do for you when moving to the Netherlands.

Comments and contact information

An assessment will be part of the selection procedure.

All additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from Dr. Ellen van den Bogaard, group leader and head of the laboratory for experimental dermatology, Department of Dermatology, Radboudumc, Nijmegen via +31 (24) 361 40 93 or from Dr. Huiqing (Jo) Zhou, group leader at the Department of Developmental Molecular Biology (RIMLS, Radboud University) and Human Genetics department (Radboudumc) via +31 (24) 361 68 50. Use the Apply button to submit your application.

Please apply before 29 April.
Recruitment agencies are asked not to respond to this job posting.

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