Vacancies 72101-PhD-candidate-Unraveling-and-targeting-complement-evasion-strategies-of-malaria-parasites-VIDI
  • 36 hours a week
  • Temporary
  • 4 years
  • Date of publication: 4 September 2019
  • Deadline: 2 October 2019
  • Scale Scale 10A: max € 43305 gross per year at full employment (incl. vacation bonus and end of year payments)
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Job description

Malaria is a devastating disease caused by Plasmodium parasites that are transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes. Novel drugs and vaccines are urgently needed since drug-resistant strains are spreading rapidly and the only vaccine available has limited efficacy. During various stages of its life-cycle, the parasite is under attack from the human complement system. The complement system is part of the innate immune system and consists of soluble serum proteins that, upon activation, initiate lysis, phagocytosis and inflammation. The effect of complement on parasite survival and how the parasite evades complement is poorly understood. Better understanding of the interaction between parasite and complement can provide new leads for vaccines against malaria.

This PhD project has two aims: i) to characterise complement evasion mechanisms at the molecular level and ii) to understand the importance of these mechanisms to parasite survival. Activities of the PhD candidate will include the purification of complement inhibitors from parasite extracts and heterologous expression systems. The PhD candidate will use these proteins to conduct in vitro complement assays to obtain mechanistic insight in complement invasion. This work will be supported by crystallographic studies in collaboration with researchers at the University of Oxford. Finally, the PhD candidate will generate mutant parasites using CRISPR/Cas9 and characterise these to understand the importance of the inhibitors for parasite survival.


We are looking for an ambitious, talented PhD candidate with an interest in both immunology and the biology of malaria. Affinity and experience with biochemistry, molecular biology and immunology are desired qualities of the envisaged PhD candidate.
A master’s degree in Molecular Life Sciences, Biology, Biomedical Sciences or a related subject.Scientific interest in infectious diseases and biology.
  • An independent and well-structured working style, demanding high quality of your own work.
  • Well-developed social skills directed to work in an interdisciplinary and international team, excellent interpersonal and communicative skills.
  • Strong motivation and ambition to succeed in scientific research.
  • Excellent presentation and scientific writing skills.


Department of Medical Microbiology at Radboudumc
The department of Medical Microbiology hosts a world-leading malaria research group. This group provides a unique combination of expertise and resources that includes a unit where parasite cultures and mosquitoes provide parasites of all life cycle stages and where genetic systems are available to enable studying fundamental processes in the Plasmodium life cycle. Within the malaria group, Dr. Matthijs Jore is leading a research group that aims to develop malaria vaccines and to understand the interaction between complement and malaria parasites. This PhD project is part of a VIDI project awarded to Dr. Matthijs Jore by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

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

  • As a PhD candidate, you will be initially appointed for a period of 4 years. Your performance will be evaluated after 2 months. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended.
  • You will be ranked in the Dutch university job-ranking system (UFO) as a PhD candidate (promovendus).
  • International candidates who feel qualified for the job are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Start 1st of January 2020.
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

Candidates should send their applications including a motivation letter (max. 1 page), a cv (including a list of grades obtained during your MSc study), and the names and contact details of two persons who can provide references to Dr. Matthijs Jore.

All additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from Dr. Matthijs More, postdoc Medical Microbiology. Use the Apply button to submit your application.

Please apply before 2 October.
Recruitment agencies are asked not to respond to this job posting.

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