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We seek two postdoctoral researchers to join our team developing (stem) cell therapies for ophthalmic diseases and conditions. The overall aim of this project is to bring a cell therapy for corneal endothelial disease into the clinic. We are working in a public–private partnership to optimize the cell biology and stem cell differentiation in vitro, perform pre-clinical studies, and initiate a clinical study.
These positions are ideally suited to researchers with the experience and ambition to work on optimizing the biology of the cell therapy. This is a highly translational project so there will also be opportunities to participate in other elements, such as designing (pre-)clinical trials, obtaining ethical approval, and monitoring intellectual property developments if this is interesting to the successful candidate.
Briefly, our goal in this project is to develop a cell therapy for the corneal endothelium. Patients with corneal endothelial disease are currently treated by corneal transplantation. This is a largely successful procedure, but the increasing numbers of transplantations worldwide have created an urgent global tissue shortage. In order to tackle this scarcity, reliable sources of corneal endothelial cells are needed. These can be both primary cultures (expanded in large numbers from a single donor) or derived from pluripotent stem cells. We are working on therapies from both sources. Our position on the field can be read in a recent review (Catala et al. Prog Retin Eye Res 2022).
Candidates do not need to have specific experience in the cornea. Instead, expertise related to cell biology and directed differentiation of pluripotent stem cells for any cell type or in is welcome.
Applicants should possess a PhD in a relevant field (e.g., in the biomedical sciences, molecular biology, cell biology, or regenerative medicine). Candidates who have not yet completed their PhD are welcome to apply, but should be on track to finish prior to starting this position.
The ideal applicant has skills in molecular biology, especially techniques for manipulating cell fate in vitro, and in (stem) cell biology, especially the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).
We are open to postdoctoral researchers with different levels of experience and can offer leadership opportunities on the project for those at a more senior level.
We are looking for creative thinkers who are prepared to take on highly challenging aims. The project will be very translational and will suit an ambitious candidate who likes a fast-paced environment with well-defined research aims. Excellent knowledge of scientific English for speaking, reading, and writing are required. Knowledge of Dutch is not required.
Fixed-term contract: 4 years (1+3 years). The selected applicant will undergo an evaluation after 1 year, after which a decision is made to prolong the contract or not. We can offer up to 4 years of funding, but are also open to shorter contracts if preferred.
Depending on experience and qualification, the maximum gross monthly salary is € 4,670 of the Dutch university collective bargaining agreement. An 8% holiday and an 8.3% year-end allowance is also provided.
In addition to good primary employment conditions, UM also offers an attractive package of secondary employment conditions.
The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website www.maastrichtuniversity.nl > About UM > Working at UM.
The successful candidate will have a cross-disciplinary supervision team comprising Dr Mor Dickman (University Eye Clinic Maastricht) and Dr Vanessa LaPointe (MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine). The research will be performed in the laboratory of Dr LaPointe at the MERLN Institute at Maastricht University (www.merlninstitute.com). At MERLN, we are a collaborative, international, and interdisciplinary group with diverse expertise. We share newly renovated laboratory facilities with modern equipment. We have a long history as leaders in the field of tissue engineering and are particularly well-known for our orientation towards translational research.
The University Eye Clinic/Maastricht University Medical Center+ is one the largest academic departments of ophthalmology in Europe (www.oogheelkunde.mumc.nl). The department is built on a strong foundation of medical education, research, and clinical care. Our clinicians provide care ranging from the routine to the very complex. Scientific work is focused on corneal diseases, cataract, and glaucoma, and is driven by a mission to understand and discover the basis for these conditions, and to develop treatments with a direct impact for patients and society.
Maastricht University (UM)
Universiteitssingel 40, 6200MD, Maastricht
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