Are you a motivated postdoctoral researcher? Join our team at the Laboratory Translational Oncology. You will be working on urine-based bladder tumoroids for mechanistic research on drug-response and resistance development in bladder cancer.
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As a postdoctoral researcher, you will be responsible for conducting independent research projects in the field of biomedical sciences, contributing to ongoing research projects, and collaborating with a team of scientists and clinicians. You will have access to state-of-the-art research facilities and resources and will be expected to publish research findings in high-impact scientific journals.
The bladder cancer project in Utrecht started in 2016 with a collaboration between UMCU and the renowned Hubrecht Institute to provide proof-of-concept of tissue-based bladder tumoroids mimicking original tumors. We have developed a living biobank containing bladder organoids and tumoroids grown from over 50 patient samples, which reflects crucial aspects of bladder cancer pathogenesis. We have shown that tissue-based tumoroids can be used as a model system to assess chemotherapy susceptibility, and are amenable for gene-editing to assess the genetic basis of drug-response and resistance development.
We are now ready for the next step: culturing bladder tumoroids directly from a urine sample. Recently we performed a proof-of-concept project on culturing urine-based bladder tumoroids (urinoids) from bladder cancer patients. In this project, we successfully cultured urine-based tumoroids and corresponding tissue-based tumoroids from 24 bladder cancer patients. This proof-of-concept project showed that the urinoids are highly concordant with both the original tumors and the tissue-based tumoroids and that drug-testing with these urine-based tumoroids is reliable for patient stratification studies. Therefore, urinoids can advance precision medicine in bladder cancer as a non-invasive platform for studying tumor pathogenesis, longitudinal drug-response monitoring, and therapy adaptation.
In this project, you will integrate this new concept of drug-response evaluation in urine-based bladder tumoroids (urinoids) with a new prospective bladder cancer cohort, to for the first time develop, characterise and apply urine-based bladder tumoroids for mechanistic research and eventually clinical purposes. In this project you will also further compare urine-grown tumoroids with the original tumor by means of: a) RNA-sequencing for global changes in gene-expression, and b) whole genome sequencing to assess the mutational status of key genes in combination with potential selection of specific genetic variants (drug resistant clones) prior to, during and after treatment. Furthermore, you will work on orthotopic xenotransplantation of the bladder tumoroids in a mouse-model, which has recently been started.
University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht)
The successful candidate will have a PhD in biomedical sciences, molecular biology, or a related field, with a strong background in cellular and molecular biology techniques. Experience in organoid culturing, animal models and gene editing technologies is desirable. Excellent communication and organizational skills are essential, as is the ability to work independently and as part of a team. Furthermore, experience in drafting grant-applications would be beneficial.
This is a part-time position (0.8fte), initially for a period of two years with possibility of extension. Salary and benefits are competitive and commensurate with experience.
If you are passionate about biomedical research and eager to join a dynamic and collaborative team, please submit your CV, cover letter through our online application system. We look forward to hearing from you.
Conditions of employment
The maximum salary for this position (29 - 29 hours) is € 5.088,00 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).
You will work within the Laboratory Translational Oncology (LTO) at the Cancer Center and Imaging Division. Within our division, we provide high-quality patient care and research. In our team, we conduct internationally leading scientific research in the field of organoid technology for treatment guidance with the goal of implementing these techniques in patient care. The LTO has ample experience in the comparison of patient drug-response and tumoroid drug-response. With our Oncological Urology Department being a clinical bladder cancer expertise center in the Netherlands (240 new bladder cancer patients/year) the patient numbers and follow-up will be guaranteed. The collaboration within the Utrecht Platform for Organoid Technologies (U-PORT) will guarantee sharing of the translational concept of this project for implementation into other fields of Medicine.
At the LTO, you will work in a team of physicists, physicians and engineers together with academic and industrial partners. Several times a year there are social, educational and scientific events organized especially for you and fellow PhD students. Also, you will be encouraged to attend international conferences with your colleagues. In the bladder team you will further collaborate with a PhD, Lab-technicians and logistic employees from U-PORT.