PhD position in CRISPR-Cas engineering and tool development (1.0 FTE)

PhD position in CRISPR-Cas engineering and tool development (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
25 Oct 29 Nov Groningen

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Job description

The vacancy is within the group of Assis. Prof. Dr. Wen Wu at the Department of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Biology, Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Groningen. The research is aimed at engineering and developing CRISPR-Cas genome editing tools for pharmaceuticals and agriculture. We offer a stimulating research environment for a PhD student interested in CRISPR-Cas and genome editing. The department’s research laboratories are well equipped for molecular biology, enzymology, protein engineering, cell biology and genome editing work.

The University of Groningen (founded in 1614) has a long tradition of academic excellence, being one of the oldest research universities in Europe. The University is currently in or around the top 100 on several influential ranking lists. Currently approximately 34,000 students are enrolled and about 1,500 PhD students work on their theses. It has a highly international character: English is the main language in the research laboratories. The city of Groningen is a historic town and among the ten biggest cities in The Netherlands. It is a vibrant student town with a direct train connection to Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam.

Project aim
CRISPR-Cas systems are adaptive immune systems found in bacteria against mobile genetic elements, such as viruses. CRISPR-Cas nucleases have proven to be effective at targeting and cleaving DNA, leading them to be repurposed for genome editing and is currently a widely used tool in many fields such as biotechnology and biomedical sciences. While these native CRISPR-Cas nucleases have been game-changers, they often fall short of perfection when it comes to applications like gene therapy.

The main aim of the project is to engineer, optimize and design CRISPR-Cas nuclease for specific therapeutic targets in a high throughput manner, with the ultimate goal of advancing gene therapy applications.

- Design and clone proteins libraries
- Develop and perform miniaturized high-throughput screening in E. coli, mammalian cell lines and biochemical assays
- Evaluate activity of various genome editing systems in bacterial cells and mammalian cell lines
- Collaborate with experts at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) to apply the developed genome editing tools in therapeutic relevant disease models.


University of Groningen


We are looking for enthusiastic and talented PhD candidates with:

Essential qualifications:
- an outstanding M.Sc. degree in Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Cell Biology or a related field
- research experience in molecular biology (molecular cloning), E. coli culturing and mammalian cell culture
- capacity to think analytically and creatively
- high motivation
- ability to work in an international team
- an integrative and cooperative personality with excellent communication and social skills
- fluency in English – written and oral.

Preferred qualifications:
- previous hands on experience with CRISPR-Cas, protein engineering, FACS or next generation sequencing preferred but not required
- familiarity with standard bioinformatic tools (Pymol/Python/command-line based).

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 48 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

- a salary of € 2,770 (salary scale PhD candidates) gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,539 gross per month in the fourth and final year, based on a full-time position
- a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income an 8.3% year-end bonus
- a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years; prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that you will successfully complete your PhD thesis within the next three years. A PhD training programme is part of the agreement.

The preferred starting date is between March 2024 and May 2024.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • max. €3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • V23.0722


University of Groningen

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Broerstraat 5, 9712 CP, Groningen

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