PhD students Macrophage-Neuron communication in pain

PhD students Macrophage-Neuron communication in pain

Published Deadline Location
22 Jul 12 Aug Utrecht
You will study the molecular mechanism of how macrophages communicate with neurons to support endogenous pain resolution. We have 2 NWO-funded 4-year PhD projects with molecular, in vitro/vivo techniques in the labs of Eijkelkamp and Vlist group.

Job description

This project aims to understand the communication and consequence of macrophage-neuron communication during resolution of inflammatory pain. For this project we have 2 PhD-positions available. The PhD students will collaborate with each other on separate but related projects, and a shared project. You will be embedded in the research groups of Eijkelkamp and Vlist, within the Center for Translational Immunology. The project has three aims: how do neurons attract macrophages (PhD#1); what endows macrophages to resolve pain (PhD#2); and what function of neurons is restored by macrophages (PhD#1 and PhD#2).

The project combines animal studies in mice and ex vivo/in vitro studies of macrophages and neurons. You will use RNA sequencing to identify targets, and will validate these targets in vivo. To understand neuronal function during resolution of pain, you will use state of the art imaging to understand how macrophages affect sensory neuron Ca2+ homeostasis, mitochondrial ROS production, mitochondrial oxygen consumption and mtDNA content. In vitro you will using state-of the art techniques to asses signaling and transcription to identify what empowers macrophages to resolve pain. With these projects we will decipher how sensory neurons interact with specialized nervous tissue macrophages to support pain resolution to provide new clues on why pain resolution may fail in chronic pain patients.


University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht)


We invite highly motivated, independent Master of Science with proven interest in immunology, neuroscience, and/or cell biology to apply. Skill sets can differ for PhD#1 and PhD#2, but in general we positively value candidates that have experience with in vivo work, flow cytometry, assays to study sensory neuron and macrophage cell function. We require that you are proficient in English. The ideal candidate has excellent communication skills and enjoys collaborative projects.

Applicants should briefly explain to which of the PhD positions they apply in a brief (1 A4) motivation letter. We explicitly welcome international applicants.

Conditions of employment

The maximum salary for this position (36 hours) is € 3.271,00 gross per month based on full-time employment.

In addition, we offer an annual benefit of 8.3%, holiday allowance, travel expenses and career opportunities. The terms of employment are in accordance with the Cao University Medical Centers (UMC).


Center for Translational Immunology (CTI)

We are part of the lively Center for Translational Immunology (CTI) that hosts all pain and immunological research performed in the University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU). The CTI has a broad base of experts in all aspects of (neuro)immunology: from autoimmune/inflammatory to cancer, from basic science to clinical application. The CTI and UMCU have multiple core facilities that you can use in this project, i.e. a flow cytometry core, protein production core and computational core facilities.


  • PhD
  • Health
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • max. €3271 per month
  • University graduate
  • 2022-2299


University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht)

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Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX, Utrecht

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 12 Aug 2022 23:58 (Europe/Amsterdam).