PhD position: Decoding the role of dynamic tRNA gene regulation

PhD position: Decoding the role of dynamic tRNA gene regulation

Published Deadline Location
23 Apr 18 May Amsterdam

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Dive into the fascinating world of tRNA gene regulation with us! Join our mission to uncover the secrets behind the unique regulation of hundreds of tRNA genes in our genome. Discover how they respond to cellular stress, differentiation, and even in ca...

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.

This project is a collaboration with NKI and the Van Leeuwen lab. A total of two PhD students will be hired on this project, one for Gerber Lab within Amsterdam UMC and one for van Leeuwen lab within NKI.
For this project, we are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic PhD student who will work together and with the two teams (Gerber lab and the Van Leeuwen lab) 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.

Applications should include:
  • Your CV;
  • A motivation letter;
  • Your transcripts of academic records;
  • Contact information of at least 2 references.


Amsterdam UMC


We are looking for an ambitious PhD student 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.

Conditions of employment

The intended start date for the project is September 1st 2024.
  • The Amsterdam UMC 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 € 3.017 - € 3.824 (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).
  • You will have the opportunity to follow high-quality courses offered by the Amsterdam OOA oncology graduate school.


Amsterdam UMC

You will work at Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc in the department of Neurosurgery of the Cancer Center Amsterdam. Cancer Center Amsterdam is an academic oncology center that aims to create groundbreaking new possibilities for patients with cancer by integrating world-class research with healthcare and education to boldly push boundaries and discover new insights and opportunities.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • €3017—€3824 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 11354



De Boelelaan 1117, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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