PhD student treatment of bonepain

PhD student treatment of bonepain

Published Deadline Location
1 Feb 21 Feb Utrecht

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We offer a position for an ambitious PhD student within an EU-funded Innovative Training Network BonePain3, who is interested in neuro-immunology and interdisciplinary research on understanding the mechanisms and treatment of osteoarthritis pain.

Job description

BonePainIII ( is a Horizon Europe MSCA Doctoral Network (Grant agreement number 101120524). The aim of BonePainIII is to promote frontline research, innovation and education within bone pain. Millions of people suffer from bone pain, which is a debilitating complication of many musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis and cancer in the bone.

Cytokines are known for their regulating roles in immune and inflammatory processes and we have found that regulatory cytokines (e.g., IL10, IL4) have a critical role in endogenous pain resolution. We have identified a novel approach where by fusing human IL 4 and IL 10 with a linker (IL4-10FP). This novel molecule has potential of IL4-10FP as a novel, non-opioid, therapeutic that engages endogenous bone pain resolution pathways. In this project you will aim to uncover the mechanism of action of this molecules and full understand how regulatory cytokines control bone pain. For example which cells in the nervous system and joint are targeted by IL4-10FP in vivo to explain the superior pain resolving effects? Does the mode of action translate to human cells? You will be using animal models of bone pain, but also use cells from human and apply a wide range of (molecular) techniques.


University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht)


We are looking for talented and highly motivated PhD with a relevant Msc degree, preferable in biomedical sciences. You have excellent experimental skills and preferable have experience with in vivo animal (pain) models, in vitro cultures such as human ipSC-derived sensory neurons or with bone cancer or osteoarthritis pain research will be an advantage. Experience in the field of neuroscience and/or neuro-immunology is advantageous. You should have good communication skills and organizational talent. The candidate should be flexible, versatile, and a good team player.

Mobility rule: You must not have resided or carried out main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the date of recruitment. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.

Your key tasks as a PhD fellow are to:
  • Manage and carry through your research project.
  • Participate in the BonePainIII training and network activities.
  • Take PhD courses.
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis.
  • Participate in national and international congresses and scientific meetings.
  • Research stay at an external research laboratory within the BonePainII network.
  • Disseminate your research.

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants:
  • Relevant skills and knowledge.
  • Previous publications.
  • Relevant work experience.
  • The grades achieved during bachelor/master studies.
  • Other professional activities.
  • Language skills.
  • Assessment of the candidate’s motivation letter.

Applications will be evaluated by an assessment committee consisting of the principal supervisor, the co-supervisor of the BonePainIII network and 1-2 members of the local research team. Gender balance in the selection committee will be ensured. Short-listed candidates will be invited for an interview (e.g. via TEAMS).

Conditions of employment

The maximum salary for this position (36 - 36 hours) is € 3.677,00 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 in the laboratory of Dr. Eijkelkamp (neuro-immunology of pain), which is hosted in the in the Center of Translational Immunology (CTI) at the UMC Utrecht. The group of Eijkelkamp is composed of an international team of researchers (~16) that are actively collaborating on projects to better understand chronic pain. The CTI is a well-facilitated department with experts in all fields of immunology. We are structured to facilitate bench-to-bed side research. The CTI, or withing the UMCU/UU, we have a state-of-the-art flow cytometry, imaging, mass spectrometry, and RNA sequencing facilities.

In BonePainIII you will be part of a thriving international research network with a strong collaboration between industry and academia. The tailor-made training program of BonepainIII encompasses training through individual research projects, network meetings, PhD courses, workshops, research stays abroad and participation in national and international conferences.


  • PhD
  • Health
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • max. €3677 per month
  • University graduate
  • 2024-4371


University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht)

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