PhD student metabolism of bonepain

PhD student metabolism of bonepain

Published Deadline Location
1 Feb today Utrecht
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 the mechanisms of pain in osteoarthritis or bone cancer.

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.

In this project you will defining how cellular metabolism in sensory neurons contributes to bone pain. We recently identified that mitochondrial and metabolic disturbance affect endogenous pain resolution pathways. Here you will identify which aspects of sensory neuron metabolism are reprogrammed in rodent models of bonepain, human Ipsc-derived sensory neurons. In addition you will perform analysis of tissues from a large cohort of OA patients with well-characterized pain phenotype. You will be using various techniques from mass spectrometry to flow cytometry. To understand how changes in cellular metabolism affect sensory neuron function, or affect the ability of neurons to recover from a pain-inducing stimulus we will use genetic and pharmacological tools to target metabolism in mouse and human (iPSC-derived) sensory neurons and asses sensory neuron excitability and neurotransmitter release.


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 (FELASA C certificate or equivalent), 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.

This is a full time position. The first 3 years are MSCA funded. Salary, pension and terms of employment are in accordance with the requirements from the European Commission related to the MSCA programme and the CAO of UMC Utrecht. The monthly salary begins around EUR 2900 gross. The project starts between May-September 2024. Your application should include a motivation letter, a CV, and a brief description of past work experience.

General job description
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 MS 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.

Additional information

Contact our colleague:
Niels Eijkelkamp
+31 887554354


  • PhD
  • Health
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • max. €3677 per month
  • University graduate
  • 2024-4372


University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht)

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Heidelberglaan 100, 3584CX, Utrecht

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 21 Feb 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).