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Are you ready to embark on an exciting journey as a PhD student at the crossroads of molecular virology and structural cell biology? If you have an unwavering passion for unravelling the intricate mechanisms underlying virus replication, then this position is tailored precisely for you.

About your role

As a PhD student, you will play a pivotal role in advancing our understanding of the coronavirus infectious cycle. In the wake of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, this understanding is pivotal for devising innovative antiviral strategies that can effectively counter future viral outbreaks. For over a decade, the collaborative efforts of our groups in Cell & Chemical Biology (CCB) and Medical Microbiology (MM) have been dedicated to delving into the intricacies of coronavirus replication. This process unfolds within the atypical double-membrane vesicles (DMVs) that coronaviruses induce in the infected cells. A recent breakthrough in our research was the discovery of a molecular pore spanning the two membranes of the DMVs and that likely serves as an RNA export channel linking viral RNA synthesis inside DMVs to cytosolic RNA translation and encapsidation (DOI: 10.1126/science.abd3629).

This new PhD project, supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), seeks to deepen our insights into the formation, structure and function of these pore complexes and the DMVs in which they are embedded. Our approach will combine multimodal state-of-the-art cryo-Electron Microscopy (EM) with a repertoire of light and EM techniques, in tandem with molecular virology and cell biological tools.

About you

  • You have a relevant training in biological, biomedical or biochemical disciplines;
  • You have a keen interest in imaging techniques, structural biology, and virology;
  • While prior experience in these fields is not mandatory, any existing knowledge will undoubtedly give you an advantage;
  • You have an affinity for computer-based work, and you may even have prior exposure to Linux systems and/or imaging processing software;
  • You have teamwork capacity and will thrive in an international collaborative environment;
  • You have effortless English communication skills, both spoken and written.

Our offer

Getting better by breaking new ground; that's our mission. This applies not only to healthcare, but also to our employees. In order to be able to continue to learn and develop, we offer internal and external training. You are also entitled to an end-of-year bonus (8,3%), holiday allowance, sports budget and bicycle scheme. Furthermore, as an employee of LUMC, you are also affiliated with the ABP pension fund. This means that 70% of your pension premium is paid by LUMC, leaving you with a higher net salary. Nice, right?

See all employment conditions of the LUMC.

About your workplace

The LUMC, situated in Leiden, the Netherlands, is an academic medical center for patient care, research, and education, aiming to meet the challenges of tomorrow's health care. It has a strong focus on research, connecting and combining fundamental research into disease-causing mechanisms with patient-focused studies in areas like oncology, regenerative medicine, and population health. The LUMC has research facilities that support a large variety of experimental approaches. The combination with clinical and societal outreach programs allows for ground-breaking research and innovation in basic and applied science.

You will be based in the Light and Electron Microscopy section within the CCB department. Your role will entail a dynamic collaboration with the Molecular Virology group at the MM department. Your supervisors will be Dr. Montserrat Barcena (CCB), Prof. Abraham Koster (CCB) and Prof. Eric Snijder (MM).

More information

  • As a PhD candidate your salary will be € 2,789 in the first year and will annually increase to a maximum of € 3,536 in the final year (scale Pro, CLA UMC).
  • You will be employed on the basis of a 36-hour week contract. The duration of your project is limited to a maximum of four years.
  • When applying, please make sure to include your CV, a motivation letter, and provide at least one reference name.
  • The project will start on January 1st, 2024.
  • Applications from employment/recruitment agencies will not be considered.