PhD position in computational single-cell cancer biology

PhD position in computational single-cell cancer biology

Published Deadline Location
12 Sep 22 Oct Amsterdam

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For an exciting project using state-of-the-art single cell measurements to elucidate how cell-state heterogeneity influences drug response in cancer we are looking for an enthusiastic PhD candidate.

Job description

Project description Anti-cancer drugs targeting signaling pathways often show great initial response, but resistance inevitably develops. One major reason for this is cell-state heterogeneity, where the response of a cell to a drug is influenced by the state the cell is in. In this project, we will use state-of-the-art single-cell multi-omics techniques (Radboud) and computational modelling (VU/NKI) to understand cellular responses to drugs over time, and develop strategies to rationally control cell behaviour to achieve better therapeutic efficacy.

This is a collaborative project between the Vrije Universiteit (VU), the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) in Amsterdam, and the Radboud University in Nijmegen. It is funded by the Dutch Cancer Society. Responsibilities: Your role will be to develop and apply computational approaches to analyze the data generated in the project and build computational models of the signaling networks. You will use these models to understand how the targeted signaling pathways behave under the various perturbations and how this determines the response of the cells to treatment. You will formulate testable hypotheses that will be validated experimentally Finally, you will contribute to designing more effective drug treatment strategies.

Research groups: This project will be jointly supervised by dr. Evert Bosdriesz (, assistant professor in the Bioinformatics group at the VU Amsterdam and prof. Lodewyk Wessels, who heads the Computational Cancer Biology group at the Netherlands Cancer Institute ( The successful candidate will be employed at the VU and will spend at least two days per week at the NKI. The project is in close collaboration with the research group of prof. Klaas Mulder ( at the Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • a degree in a quantitative discipline such as bioinformatics, computer science, physics, (applied) mathematics, or a related field
  • proficiency in bioinformatics programming languages (e.g. R, Python)
  • good cross-disciplinary collaborative and communication skills
  • experience in molecular and/or (cancer) biology and is a plus
  • experience in statistics, machine learning and/or pattern recognition is a plus
  • experience in analyzing high-throughput molecular data is a plus

Conditions of employment

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,770 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,539 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 18 months. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a total duration of 4 years.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 31,000 students. We employ over 5,000 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
Working at the Faculty of Science means working together with students, PhD candidates and scientists who are focused on their discipline, yet also have a broad view of the world. We are proud of the collegial working environment within the faculty, which is characterised by an ambitious and pragmatic attitude with commitment to the bigger picture. At the Faculty of Science, scientists and students work on fundamental and complex social issues for a sustainable and healthy future. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to malnutrition, from genetics to pharmaceuticals and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research cover the full breadth of the natural sciences. Scientific teaching and research is highly experimental, technical, computational and interdisciplinary in nature. This is why we collaborate extensively with leading research institutes and industry. The faculty has over 11,000 students studying across 40 educational programmes and employs over 1,600 staff spread over 10 scientific departments, making us the largest science faculty in the Netherlands.


  • PhD
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 16114


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1105, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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