PhD Immunoengineering – Single cell technology to decode auto-immune diseases

PhD Immunoengineering – Single cell technology to decode auto-immune diseases

Published Deadline Location
19 Dec 30 Jan Eindhoven

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We are accepting applications from enthusiastic candidates who are fascinated by applying and developing single cell technologies, to have an impact on decoding auto-immune diseases and interested in working in a dynamic, stimulating and ambitious environment to perform their PhD.

Job description

Communication is of vital importance for life, from the smallest molecule to the largest system in our body, in protecting us against pathogens. In our immune system type I interferons play an important role in communication between cells. However, when this process is dysregulated it leads to autoimmune diseases. Given the pivotal roles of IFN-Is it is intriguing that only very small fractions ~1-5% of cells, also referred to first responders, start producing IFN-I upon infection, both in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo, which turn out crucial in driving population-wide IFN-I dynamics. Remarkably, how fractions of first responders arise during cellular decision-making, coordinate IFN-I dynamics through 2nd and non-responders and how its implicated in autoimmune diseases is yet far from understood. This multidisciplinary project will develop new technology and yield the unique opportunity to unravel the regulation of type I interferons, which ultimately will have a great impact in battling auto-immune diseases.

In this project you will, together with the team, focus on unravelling cellular heterogeneity, specifically how individually cells ignite systemic type I interferon mediated responses. Moreover, you will examine how these responses differ between healthy cells and cells obtained from patients suffering from auto-immune diseases (in close collaboration with the Regional Rheuma Center - hospital MMC). Despite advances in single cell technologies, understanding the role of heterogeneity in immune cell populations, remains poorly understood. By exploiting cutting edge droplet-based microfluidic technology and single cell RNA and ATAC sequencing, you will investigate the mode of type I interferon secretion and temporally decipher its signalling dynamics.

The Immunoengineering group is a young, vibrant and international group at the TU/e that strives to make an impact on healthcare by an improved understanding on immune cell function and communication. We focus on developing and exploiting advances in single cell technologies, e.g. droplet- and valve-based microfluidics, microscopy, flow cytometry, single cell RNA sequencing to probe heterogeneity in immune cell populations and to study cellular communication on the single or few cell level in health and disease. The group is embedded in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Institute of Complex Molecular Systems and has access to state-of-the-art technologies and excellent infrastructure.


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)


  • A master's degree (or an equivalent university degree) in immunology, biomedical engineering, molecular/cellular biology or equivalent.
  • A research-oriented attitude.
  • Experience in cellular immunology, including (primary) cell culture, microscopy, flow cytometry, PCR is preferred, additional experience or affinity with microfluidics or single cell analysis would be highly valuable. Or vice versa, experience in technology and affinity for immunology.
  • The candidate will be able to effectively communicate scientific ideas, foster collaboration and have a capability for independent thinking.
  • Ability to work in an interdisciplinary team and interested in collaborating with hospitals and industrial partners.
  • Motivated to develop your teaching skills and coach students.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English (C1 level).

Conditions of employment

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:
  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. € 2.541,- max. €3.247,-).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • V50.6160


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

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De Rondom 70, 5612 AP, Eindhoven

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