PhD candidate "Targeting adaptive immunity to treat atherosclerosis"

PhD candidate "Targeting adaptive immunity to treat atherosclerosis"

Published Deadline Location
24 Oct 30 Nov Leiden

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PhD candidate "Targeting adaptive immunity to treat atherosclerosis"
Vacancy number: 14225

Job description

Are you attracted to multidisciplinary, immunological research, with a strong translational character? Interested in targeting adaptive immunity in cardiovascular disease? This PhD position at the Division of BioTherapeutics (LACDR) may be for you!

The Faculty of Science Leiden and the Division of BioTherapeutics at the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research are looking for a PhD candidate for the project 'Targeting adaptive immunity to treat atherosclerosis'

Project description
Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease and a prominent underlying condition of cardiovascular disease. Despite the availability of lipid lowering drugs, cardiovascular disease remain a major contributor to mortality and the leading cause of death worldwide. Therefore we aim to identify new therapeutic pathways targeting the inflammatory component of atherosclerosis. Both B- and T cells are crucially involved in the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis. Recent work from our lab has led to a detailed map of the immune cell content of atherosclerotic lesions, identifying novel players, such as age-associated B cells and activated T cells, in disease progression. This project aims to understand the role and interconnectivity of these immune cells, identify the most relevant pathways that drive atherosclerosis and develop novel immunotherapies to promote healthy cardiovascular aging. The PhD student will join our enthusiastic team studying the different immune aspects of atherosclerotic lesion development to discover new therapeutic targets and strategies for the treatment of atherosclerosis.

Key responsibilities
The aim of your PhD project is to provide fundamental knowledge regarding the contribution of adaptive immunity to cardiovascular disease. You will 1) integrate Big-data approaches (eg. scRNAseq, scBCR/TCRseq) with human ex vivo experimentation to reveal immune cells interaction in the atherosclerotic lesion, 2) establish causal relationships and mechanistic insights into inflammatory pathways in atherosclerosis and 3) design and test new therapeutic strategies for atherosclerosis.

You will use a combination of murine and human atherosclerotic materials and will closely collaborate with international researchers of the EIC ‘B-specific’ consortium and the Leducq network ‘CHECKPOINT-ATHERO’ (


Leiden University


Selection criteria
We are looking for an enthusiastic, bright, well-motivated, and ambitious scientist:
  • With a recent Master degree in Biopharmaceutical Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Biology, Medical Biology, or equivalent
  • With a strong interest in and experienced with immunological research
  • With experience with in vivo studies (artikel 9, proefdierkunde), flow cytometry, single cell technology (working in R, Python), microscopical techniques or molecular biology is an advantage
  • With proficiency in English, both verbally and in writing
  • Who is an independent and creative team player with good communicative skills

Conditions of employment

We offer
We offer a full-time appointment of initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the research, teaching evaluations, personal capabilities and compatibility, the appointment will be extended for another three years. You will be appointed in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. The salary ranges from € 2.770,- to € 3.539,- gross per month, depending on experience (pay scale P).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information, see the website.

All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness. In addition, advanced courses to deepen scientific knowledge are offered by the research school.

Diversity and inclusion
Fostering an inclusive community is a central element of the values and vision of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive. LACDR is a highly diverse institute, in culture, background, and gender. We stand for excellence in a caring Institute. We wish to reflect society in all aspects, as we believe that this improves the dynamics in our organization. Therefore, we support and understand the need for a work/life/family balance and consequent varying working hours and places. We believe that doing good science is fun, and goes hand in hand with a friendly culture.

LACDR, Division of BioTherapeutics
The division of BioTherapeutics is part of the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR). Our institute is a centre of excellence for multidisciplinary research on drug discovery and development. Leiden University consistently ranks within the top-20 world-wide within the subject-based QS Ranking in Pharmacology and Pharmacy. At LACDR, we develop innovative scientific concepts in fundamental and translational research underlying the discovery and optimization of drugs, and personalised medicines. We aim to optimise the route to novel drugs that are both efficacious and safe, and therefore our research focuses on drug discovery and safety, biotherapeutics, and systems biomedicine and pharmacology. State-of-the-art expertise and infrastructures ensure that we are strategically positioned in (inter)national collaborations, thus further strengthening the development of novel concepts and their application in a clinical and industry environment. More information about LACDR you find on the website, see

The division of BioTherapeutics operates at the forefront of research in the field of therapeutic modulation of cardiovascular disease. The research aims to identify new immune targets in atherosclerosis and to develop innovative biopharmaceutical concepts to intervene in cardiovascular disease. The use of specific gene-knockout technology, biologics such as vaccines, therapeutic proteins and cellular therapy, provides a unique approach for the developme


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 14225



Rapenburg 70, 2311EZ, Leiden

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