PhD student – Cracking the code of tRNA gene regulation

PhD student – Cracking the code of tRNA gene regulation

Published Deadline Location
17 Apr 17 May Amsterdam

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Job description

The labs of Alan Gerber (Amsterdam UMC – Location VUmc) and Fred van Leeuwen (Netherlands Cancer Institute, NKI) are teaming up to crack the code of gene regulation of tRNA genes. In a project supported by ZonMW, we will address how the hundreds of tRNA genes in our genome are regulated in their own unique way in response to cellular stress, during differentiation, and in cancer. Current data on tRNA genes and models for regulation of protein coding genes do not provide an explanation for the observed dynamics in the expression of tRNA genes. In this collaborative project, we will investigate the mechanisms of tRNA gene regulation using novel methods and technologies in human cells and budding yeast. We will take advantage of CRISPR-mediated approaches, high-throughput analysis of DNA regulatory regions, novel tRNA sequencing methods, and innovative strategies to decode ‘proteomes’ and ‘regulomes’ of tRNA genes.


For this project, we are looking for two highly motivated and enthusiastic PhD students that will work together and with the two teams to unravel the mechanisms of tRNA gene regulation. One PhD student will be located in the Gerber lab (Amsterdam UMC, Department of Neurosurgery at the Cancer Center Amsterdam), the other in the Van Leeuwen lab at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (Division of Gene Regulation). The two institutes are only a 15 min bike ride apart.

More information about the labs and their research topics can be found here:
Gerber Lab:
Van Leeuwen Lab:


The Netherlands Cancer Institute


We are looking for ambitious PhD students with a strong background in molecular biology and with affinity for genomics and exploring new technologies. The candidates should be fluent in English, independent, detail-oriented and have a problem-solving attitude. Good communication skills and the ability to work in a team are essential.

Scientific environment

Located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) is an internationally renowned institute dedicated to fundamental, translational and clinical cancer research, and the only comprehensive cancer center in The Netherlands. It is a dynamic institute accommodating over 50 research groups and many excellent facilities, including imaging, flow cytometry, proteomics, genomics, screening, and many more. The laboratory is part of the highly collaborative Division of Gene Regulation with multiple groups of complementary expertise.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.


We offer a stimulating and interactive research environment, free use of all state-of-the-art facilities, and a competitive salary. The gross salary per month is € 3.355,- to € 4.073,- (salary PhD scale, according to the Collective Labour Agreement General Hospitals). In addition, you will receive 8,33% holiday pay and end-of-year bonus (8,33%). The appointment is for a period of four years. You will have the opportunity to follow high-quality courses offered by the Amsterdam OOA oncology graduate school.

Your travel expenses will be reimbursed at € 0,19 per km. Free parking at the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek is also part of the package. Personnel is stimulated to use public transport and bicycle and therefore we offer an interesting arrangement for bikers and/or discount on the NS-business card. 


  • Research, development, innovation; PhD
  • Natural sciences; Health; Food
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €3355—€4073 per month
  • University graduate
  • AT NKI 20240417


The Netherlands Cancer Institute

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Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX, Amsterdam

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