PhD student Neuro-immunology

PhD student Neuro-immunology

Published Deadline Location
27 Mar yesterday Amsterdam

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Discovery of drivers of MS progression

Job description

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the central nervous system (CNS). Current treatment regimens effectively dampen acute clinical symptoms, but do not halt disease progression. Therefore, there remains a great need to better define the underlying processes of MS progression to come to new diagnostic and prognostic tools (imaging, biomarkers) and novel targets for treatment. Studies suggest that tissue damage in MS begins with lymphocytic trafficking into the brain across the various brain barriers which may progress to chronic, compartmentalised inflammation, resulting in demyelination and tissue damage. Recently, exciting new findings highlight that ongoing tissue degeneration is mediated by interactions between immune cells present in choroid plexus (ChP), the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the brain parenchyma and surrounding meninges (Rodriguez-Lorenzo et al., eLife 2022; van Olst et al., ACTA Neuropath, 2021), indicating that, depending on the disease state, various brain areas that border the CSF are involved in disease progression.

In the current project we aim to push these insights further, in order to unravel how the immune alterations at the ChP, the CSF and the CSF brain border drive MS progression to come to novel biomarkers and targets for treatment. For this, you will combine the various expertise within the MS center Amsterdam. You will decipher how altered volumetric changes of the ChP (determined using MRI) associate with markers of immune activation and tissue damage as well as disease progression and you will determine how cellular changes in CSF correlate to disease progression. Additionally, you will create a better understanding of how cells cross the blood CSF barrier and affect brain regions that border the CSF by building novel iPSC derived in vitro models to test your hypothesis.

This highly translational project encompasses fundamental research questions, extensive analyses of MS patient scans and material, and testing of new therapeutic approaches in in vitro models, with the ultimate goal to translate our findings to the clinic.


Amsterdam UMC


We seek a highly motivated and enthusiastic researcher with:
  • A master’s degree in a field related to biomedical sciences, neuroscience, immunology, bioinformatics;
  • Affinity for (neuro)immunology, neuroscience, and cell biology;
  • A flexible and pro-active attitude with team spirit, but a strong ability to work independently;
  • A ‘can-do’ mentality, with patience and perseverance;
  • Experience with immunohistochemistry, in vitro models using iPSC technology and (MR) imaging analyses is a plus;
  • Excellent communications skills in English, both written and verbal.

Hepatitis B vaccination is mandatory and will be provided by Amsterdam UMC.

Conditions of employment

The intended start date for the project is September 1st 2024.
  • The position is for 4 years. We first offer a fixed term contract for 1 year, which under normal circumstances will be prolonged with 3 years. We also provide you with the opportunity to follow further training and development.
  • Salary scale: OIO € 2.901 - € 3.677 (based on a 36 hour week), depending on qualifications and experience.
  • Additional benefits including an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday pay. Calculate your net salary here.
  • Your pension is accrued at The Dutch Pension Fund for government and education employees (ABP). Amsterdam UMC contributes 70% of this scheme
  • We reimburse 75% of your OV travel costs (commuting costs).

For more information about our employment conditions, please visit our website.


Amsterdam UMC

This joint project will be performed at Amsterdam UMC, primarily in the Neuro-immunology research group of prof.dr. Elga de Vries together with dr. Merel Rijnsburger; Immunology Amsterdam – Department of Molecular Cell Biology and Immunology (MCBI) (location VUmc; O|2 Building), together with the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience (dr. Menno Schoonheim).

You will work in a team with young and enthusiastic researchers (around 30), who have expertise in imaging, immunology, biochemistry, cell biology, (clinical) neuroscience and neurological diseases. This collaborative project is funded by the program grant of the Stichting MS Research and is embedded in Amsterdam Neuroscience and the MS center Amsterdam.

MS Center Amsterdam
The MS Center Amsterdam is a multidisciplinary center within Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc in which more than 100 researchers from different disciplines cooperate. Our mission is to give people with MS a normal daily life without being limited by their disease. The combination of fundamental, applied and clinical research gives us the possibility to quickly apply results into the care for people with MS. The center has an excellent international reputation.


  • PhD
  • Health
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • €2901—€3677 per month
  • University graduate
  • 11288



De Boelelaan 1117, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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