PhD in Medical Systems Biology: Translational models for peroxisomal dysfunction

PhD in Medical Systems Biology: Translational models for peroxisomal dysfunction

University Medical Center Groningen

Groningen, Netherlands

University Medical Center Groningen
the European training programme PerICo

The University of Groningen and the University Medical Center Groningen offer an excellent environment for research and training of scientific skills. The Medical Systems Biology group headed by Prof. B.M. Bakker studies dynamics of metabolism and its regulation in the context of metabolic diseases, cancer, and ageing, and collaborates closely with clinicians. We are part of the Laboratory of Pediatrics, where we have excellent facilities for multi-omics studies, including quantitative metabolomics and proteomics, as well as for computational modelling of metabolic processes.

The PhD position is part of the European training programme PerICo (Peroxisome Interactions and Communication). PerICo is a multi-partner European Training Network under the European Union programme Horizon 2020. PerICo fosters education of 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in projects aimed at uncovering how peroxisomes, important cellular organelles, participate in the intricate cellular interaction and signaling network. Apart from training in their own laboratory, the ESRs will receive courses and perform part of their research at the other world-leading academic institutions, and industrial partners involved in PerICo.

Project description
In this ‘Systems Medicine’ project we will focus on the construction of computational models to understand how severe acute malnutrition (SAM) leads to sustained dysfunction of peroxisomal and mitochondrial metabolism. A challenge for such an approach is to bridge the gap between computational models and the in vivo metabolism in patient tissues. To this end the PhD student will also develop in vitro disease models, such as liver organoids and iPS-derived liver cell culture. Tasks include:
- Establish an in vitro model for SAM (liver iPS cells and/or organoids in medium deprived of amino acids).
- Biochemical characterization of the in vitro malnutrition model, focusing on fluxomics and proteomics.
- Construct a computational model of the interplay between peroxisomes and mitochondria in lipid metabolism.
- Model-informed interventions to rescue peroxisomal-mitochondrial function.

What do we need
We are searching for an excellent, highly motivated candidate with a masters’ degree in life sciences, biophysics, biochemistry, or a related field, and clear affinity for metabolism and mathematics. Candidates are expected to communicate efficiently in an interdisciplinary team of academic and private partners, consisting of biochemists, biologists, and computational experts.

Successful candidates must fulfil the criteria defined by the European Commission:
- As an Early Stage Researcher, you have to be in the first four years of your research career and have not been awarded a doctoral degree at the time of recruitment.
- At the time of recruitment by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date.

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 Behaviour’ is required.

What do we offer
An appointment as a PhD student for three years. Your salary is € 2.357,- gross per month in the first year up to a maximum of € 3.020,- gross per month in the third year (scale PhD) depending on qualifications. In addition, the UMCG will offer you 8% holiday pay and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. The terms of employment comply with the Collective Labour Agreement for Medical Centers (CAO-UMC).

Additional information
For more information, please contact Prof. Barbara Bakker, e-mail: or phone + 31 50 361 1542 ( (please do not use e-mail adress for applications)

Applying for the job
Please use the digital application form at the foot of the vacancy on our website: or
You can apply until 24 February 2019.
Within half an hour after sending the digital application form you will receive an email- confirmation with further information.
Applications should include a motivation letter and a curriculum vitae including two contacts for reference.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.