A PhD position in transfusion in sickle cell disease

A PhD position in transfusion in sickle cell disease

Published Deadline Location
1 May 31 May Amsterdam

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Will you make the difference with this innovative research project addressing transfusion in sickle cell disease?

Sanquin Research, in collaboration with the departments of Pediatric Hematology and Hematology of Amsterdam University Medical Centers (UMC), is looking for a PhD candidate for a project investigating and addressing challenges around blood transfusion in patients with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD).

Job description

The project:
Transfusion of red blood cells is still a major therapeutic intervention for both the treatment and prevention of SCD-related complications such as acute chest syndrome and stroke. However, transfusion in these patients is associated with increased risk of alloimmunization, a severe and potentially life-threatening complication of transfusion. In some cases, the presence of combinations of alloantibodies renders future transfusions almost impossible because no reliably determined compatible blood is available. Unfortunately, alloimmunization has a much higher incidence in transfusion recipients from ethnic minority groups, especially in patients of African descent, receiving blood from Caucasian donors, as there are significant mismatches in red blood cell antigens between ethnic groups. Furthermore, the risk of alloimmunization in SCD patients is further increased due to the chronic proinflammatory state.

This project will investigate challenges encompassing the whole chain of transfusion from donor availability and motivation to enabling full matching by complete genotyping of SCD patients and (ethnically matched) donors and improved detection of alloantibodies by building a red blood cell panel of donors of African origin.

  1. The project addresses three main aims: to identify barriers and facilitators for individuals from ethnic minority groups to become and remain blood donor and develop interventions to improve donor recruitment and retention;
  2. to improve detection of alloantibodies in patients from African descent with the  use of a novel RBC screening panel based on RBC antigens of donors from African descent;
  3. to examine the feasibility of a blood bank inventory that provides fully matched blood based on genotyped RBCs of donors and recipients with SCD.

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate, with an MD degree (arts-onderzoeker).

The PhD candidate will be embedded into the Graduate School of the Amsterdam UMC and will be working at both Sanquin and Amsterdam UMC.   


Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation (Sanquin)


We are looking for:  

  • an enthusiastic candidate with an MD (Doctor of Medicine) degree, with good communication skills and a high affinity with the Sickle Cell Disease patient group; We encourage all qualified candidates to apply for this PhD project, and we particularly welcome applications from individuals belonging to underrepresented ethnic groups, including those of African descent.
  • an independent, responsible and team-oriented candidate;
  • proficiency in written and spoken English,;
  • broad interest in various aspects of medicine (social sciences, clinical and translational research). 
  • good organizational skills and the flexibility to work at different locations;
  • good communication skills required to communicate with different stakeholder groups and working in a multi-disciplinary team;
  • experience and affinity with qualitative research methods, i.e., focus group discussions, scenario development, and some experience with survey research is highly appreciated;
  • You are empathetic and stress-resistant: you keep a cool head in complex situations and have your heart in the right place.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

We offer:

  • diverse and challenging wide-ranging studies in social sciences, clinical and translational    
  • research in a multi-disciplinary and enthusiastic international team; 
  • temporary position (project duration of 4 years); 
  • salary and conditions are according to CAO Sanquin;
  • 8.33% end-of-year bonus; i.e. a thirteenth month in case of full-year employment;
  • partial reimbursement of travel costs;
  • pension plan with Pensioenfonds Zorg & Welzijn (PFZW);
  • embedding in the AMC graduate school;
  • at fulltime employment (36 hours) 201 hours of leave per annum.


About Sanquin

Providing safe transfusion products is the core business of Sanquin. The mission of Sanquin is: “Together with the donor we ensure a better life for patients”. Sanquin is a knowledge-driven not-for-profit organization that supplies life-saving products and services, as well as blood transfusion medicine- and immunology- related research. The research is performed by a dedicated staff and is focused around five medical needs: 1. Anemia, 2. Bleeding and Hemostasis, 3. Cancer, 4. Immune deficiency and Aging, 5. Vascular and Inflammatory diseases.


You will be based at the Department of Donor Medicine Research at Sanquin and the Department of Pediatric Hematology of Amsterdam UMC. Sanquin and Amsterdam UMC provide a lively, internationally oriented, scientific environment with excellent facilities and weekly scientific meetings, journal clubs and work discussions to gain scientific input and to exchange knowledge. 

We offer an interesting PhD trajectory with excellent supervision at two institutes in a scientifically oriented setting. Sanquin is the leading research institute in the field of blood, hematology and immunology. Amsterdam UMC provides state of the art patient care and is a leading research center. The department of Pediatricand Hematology of Amsterdam UMC collaborate closely in the NFU accredited European Reference Network expertise center for SCD. Together Sanquin and Amsterdam UMC perform groundbreaking basic, translational and clinical research.


  • Research, development, innovation; PhD
  • Health
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • AT SA 685


Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation (Sanquin)

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Plesmanlaan 125, 1066 CX, Amsterdam

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