PhD candidate for the project “Mast cells as effectors in advanced atherosclerosis”

PhD candidate for the project “Mast cells as effectors in advanced atherosclerosis”

Published Deadline Location
20 Feb 15 Mar Leiden

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Leiden university, the Division of BioTherapeutics at the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR) is looking for a PhD candidate for the project “Mast cells as effectors in advanced atherosclerosis”

Job description

Project description
The mast cell is a prominent pro-inflammatory immune effector cell that is normally involved in host defence responses. Mast cells have also been shown to contribute to cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis. In human atherosclerotic plaques, mast cell number has been shown to associate with the progression of the disease and with the incidence of acute cardiovascular events. However, actual mast cell-related pathways to therapeutically intervene in cardiovascular patients remain up to now unidentified. This project aims to fully characterize plaque mast cells to identify druggable targets to limit mast cell accumulation and activation in the advanced atherosclerotic plaque. The PhD student will join our enthusiastic team studying the different immune aspects of atherosclerotic lesion development to discover new therapeutic targets and strategies for the treatment of atherosclerosis.

Key responsibilities
The aim of this PhD project is to provide fundamental knowledge regarding the contribution of  the mast cell to cardiovascular disease. You will search for new targets to limit the mast cell in advanced atherosclerosis with the aim to inhibit the progression of atherosclerosis. The project will involve in vitro and in vivo experiments in which you will identify novel druggable targets to inhibit atherosclerosis. You will perform flow cytometry to characterize mast cells in both experimental mouse models and samples obtained from cardiovascular disease patients.


Leiden University


We are looking for an enthusiastic, bright, well-motivated, and ambitious scientist with:

  • A recent Master degree in Biopharmaceutical Sciences, Biology, Medical Biology, Biomedical Sciences, or equivalent;
  • A strong interest in and preferably experienced with immunological research;
  • Experience with in vivo studies (artikel 9, proefdierkunde), flow cytometry, microscopical techniques and molecular biology is an advantage;
  • Proficiency in English, both verbally and in writing;
  • Who is an independent and creative team player with good communicative skills.            

Conditions of employment

We offer a position for initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary range from €2,325 to €2,972 gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career program. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More information at our website.

All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness. In addition, advanced courses to deepen scientific knowledge are offered by the research school.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.


Leiden University,

The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organized in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programs. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2.200 staff and almost 4.200 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

The Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR) is a leading institute dedicated to world-class research and education in drug discovery and development. LACDR comprises a diverse and international team of approximately 150 researchers and is ideally located at the Leiden Bio Science Park, the largest life science cluster in The Netherlands.

Within the LACDR, the Division of BioTherapeutics operates at the forefront of research in the field of therapeutic modulation of cardiovascular disease. Two closely linked research lines focus on the importance of lipids and immunity in the development of cardiovascular events. The research aims to develop intervention strategies in cardiovascular diseases by using genomics, specific gene knock-out technology and vaccination protocols, which leads to a unique approach for the development of new therapies for the treatment or prevention of atherosclerosis.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • University graduate
  • 20-087



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