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PhD position in Nanoparticles for Intestinal Diseases (1.0 FTE) (V24.0129)

Job description

Intestinal fibrosis is a common complication in chronic inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. It is a serious therapeutic problem, which is difficult to diagnose and treat. Intestinal tissue is easy to access with nanoparticles, which offers excellent opportunities for therapy and diagnosis e.g. a theranostic approach.

The current proposal aims to find (I) relevant target receptors in diseased intestinal tissue, with special focus on macrophages and fibroblasts, (II) prepare lipid nanoparticles that bind to these receptors enabling delivery of fluorescence labels and experimental drugs into the target cells, and finally (III) test the application of these constructs to monitor disease activity and effects of drugs. Research will be performed in cultures of fibroblasts and precision-cut intestinal slices from IBD patients. The aim is to image fibroblast and macrophage accumulation, and explore the effectivity of a cell-specific therapeutic approach.

The vacancy is within the groups of Prof. Dr. Klaas Poelstra and Prof. Dr. Peter Olinga at the Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Groningen and Prof. dr. Klaas Nico Faber, University Medical Center Groningen. The research project aims at developing innovative cell-selective delivery strategies for nanoparticles to fibroblasts and macrophages for the imaging and treatment of intestinal fibrosis associated with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.

The University of Groningen (founded in 1614) has a long tradition of academic excellence, being one of the oldest research universities in Europe. The University is currently in or around the top 100 on several influential ranking lists. Currently approximately 30,000 students are enrolled and about 1,500 PhD students work on their theses. The city of Groningen is a historic town and among the ten biggest cities in The Netherlands. It is a vibrant student town with a direct train connection to Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam.

The project is awarded by The Health Technology Research and Innovation Cluster (HTRIC). HTRIC is rethinking the future of healthcare. We bring academic research, health technology, and clinical practice together to tackle the challenges faced by today’s healthcare system. Our aspiration? More healthy years of life for the people around us!

Through our research, we will foster new developments that support healthy aging and longevity while improving people’s quality of life and making healthcare more efficient. We focus on the entire innovation chain, from societal and clinical demands to groundbreaking innovations and first-in-human applications.

We aim to speed up innovation through the interplay of knowledge development, health technology development, and business development. By linking researchers, businesses, and external professionals, we want to develop technologies that will continue to improve and transform our healthcare system. This is what HTRIC stands for.

The Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy (GRIP) is part of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) of the University of Groningen and collaborates closely with the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). The pharmaceutical and medical research within GRIP and the UMCG is very multidisciplinary. This project bridges the gap between clinical and biomedical sciences on the one hand and drug design and development on the other hand. The interaction between Pharmaceutical Sciences and the UMCG offers excellent opportunities for groundbreaking research. In particular, the research on Nanomedicines is at the cutting edge between these disciplines.


We are looking for an enthusiastic and talented PhD candidate with

  • a MSc degree in Medical Biology, Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences or a related field
  • research experience in the field of molecular biology, preferably with experience in qPCR, western blotting, FACS, immunohistochemistry and/or mammalian cell cultures
  • capacity to think analytically and creatively
  • high motivation
  • ability to work in an international team
  • an integrative and cooperative personality with excellent communicative and social skills
  • fluent proficiency in English – written and oral.


Conditions of employment

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

  • a salary of € 2,770 (salary scale PhD candidates) gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,539 gross per month in the fourth and final year, based on a full-time position
  • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income an 8.3% year-end bonus
  • a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years; prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that you will successfully complete your PhD thesis within the next three years. A PhD training programme is part of the agreement.

The preferred starting date is between June 1st and October 1st 2024.


Do you want to become a member of our team? Please send your application to us, by submitting the following documents:

  • motivation letter
  • curriculum vitae
  • names and email addresses of at least two academic references.

You may apply for this position until 1 May 11:59pm / before 2 May 2024 Dutch local time (CEST) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

  • Prof. Klaas Poelstra, Department Nanomedicne and Drug Targeting at GRIP, k.poelstra

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.