PhD Candidate Retinal Gene Therapy

PhD Candidate Retinal Gene Therapy

Published Deadline Location
3 Feb 19 Mar Leiden

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Are you a dedicated and ambitious MSc student who likes finding solutions for complex health issues? Do you have a keen interest in regenerative medicine for the treatment of inherited retinal diseases? Then you might be the PhD candidate we are looking for in our participation within the Marie Skłodowska Curie - Doctoral Network (MSCA-DN) project “Targeting RNA as an approach for treating retinal disease” (RETORNA).

Job description

Loss of vision changes dramatically the existence of many children and young adults. A most frequent cause of blindness early in life is due to the loss of CRB1 function. The aim of this project is to demonstrate neuroprotection by RNA aptamers to improve rAAV gene augmentation or gene editing therapies targeting photoreceptors such as but not limited to rAAV CRB. As PhD candidate, in collaboration with colleagues, you will perform proof of concept studies by testing RNA aptamers in cultured human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC-) derived retinal organoids and hiPSC-retinal pigment epithelium.


Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC)


·         You are a highly motivated, creative and proactive PhD student, a team player able to work independently, eager to communicate and acquire and transfer knowledge;

·         We search for international students but you need a MSc degree in Life Sciences with sufficient laboratory experience and a written MSc Thesis;

·         Furthermore, you have hands-on experience with cell biology and molecular biology techniques such as cell culture (preferably  stem cells such as human iPSC or EC), gene expression systems (preferably viral vectors), molecular cloning, qPCR, western blotting, (immuno-)histochemistry, and (confocal) microscopy;

·         Your oral and writing communication skills in English are excellent

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: duration education.

Salary is according to the general regulations of LUMC and the rules for Doctoral Candidates in MSCA DNs gross € 3,400 per month, a mobility allowance of € 600, and a family allowance of € 660 if applicable. The final net monthly depends on the family situation and tax deduction for foreign employees. Mobility is essential, you should not have lived or worked in the Netherlands in the 3 years before the recruitment date of September 1, 2023.



At the Leiden University Medical Center, we continuously work on improving patient care. We invest in groundbreaking, international research and work with the latest equipment. Together with our team of doctors, medical specialists, teachers, academic researchers and supporting staff, we aim for the best quality in health care, education and international research. And we need you to realize our goals!


the department of Ophthalmology

The position is within the research team of Dr. Jan Wijnholds at the department of Ophthalmology. The research labs are integrated within the Department of Cell and Chemical Biology (CCB). We make use of an excellent lab and network infrastructure. The group develops viral gene therapy vectors for various inherited retinal disease as well as regeneration of the damaged retina. We collaborate closely with teams at the Dept CCB that specialize in viral vectors, gene augmentation and CRISPR-Cas gene editing, hiPSC technology, electron microscopy, and cell biology. As participant in the MSCA-DN project you will have secondments for example in Tübingen (Germany) and Cork (Ireland).


  • PhD
  • Health
  • max. 35.9 hours per week
  • max. €3400 per month
  • University graduate
  • C.23.NG.IZ.02


Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC)

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Albinusdreef 2, 2333 ZA, Leiden

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