VU University Medical Center
PhD Position - Development of novel therapy for osteogenesis imperfecta
VU University Medical Center
The VU University Medical Center is one out of eight university medical centers in the Netherlands.
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JOB DETAILS
Published: 14 days ago
Application deadline: Unspecified
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
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PhD Position - Development of novel therapy for osteogenesis imperfecta

 The Centre for Connective Tissue Disorders

The Centre for Connective Tissue Disorders (CCTD) has long-standing expertise in the study of osteogenesis imperfecta, hereditary osteoporosis and other connective tissue disorders. It is part of the Clinical Genetics department at the VU University medical center and it is embedded in the Bone and Stem and Cell Laboratory (BSCL) which, together with the Laboratory for Bone metabolism (Clinical Chemistry department) and the Stem Cell and Nanomedicine laboratory (department of Oral & Maxillofacial surgery), is dedicated to multifaceted research on bone development and associated diseases. BSLC performs disease genetics and diagnostics, mechanobiology, stem and progenitor cell characterization and differentiation as well as oncology/nanomedicine to address the multiple aspects of pathological bone conditions. CCTD belongs to the Amsterdam Movement Sciences (AMS) research institute and it is also a nationally accredited expertise center for osteogenesis imperfecta. CCTD has delivered valuable insight into new genetic causes and molecular mechanisms of this disease. A significant part of research is focused on the development of meaningful therapy for this limited but severely affected patient group.

https://www.vumc.nl/afdelingen/klinischegenetica/268768/centrum-Bindweefselonderzoek-klinische-genetica-vumc/

Project description

Osteogenesis imperfecta is a genetic disorder which is mainly characterized by bone fragility as a result of which patients suffer from multiple severe fractures. It is a genetically heterogeneous disease caused by mutations in different genes affecting collagen regulation. In the vast majority of patients less collagen is produced. Despite the severity of the disease no effective therapy exists. We have developed a novel differentiation method to derive osteoblasts from dermal fibroblasts of the patients. In this model we can investigate osteoblast differentiation and function in a disease-relevant molecular background. This project is based on testing small molecules on patient-specific osteoblasts with the potential to upregulate collagen synthesis, the primary problem in the pathology of osteogenesis imperfecta. The candidate will work on their vigorous preclinical evaluation especially in animal models of the disease. A large part of the study will also include the development of gene therapy to address the more rare forms of osteogenesis imperfecta.

Requirements

  • Motivation, enthusiasm and ambition to succeed academically
  • A Master degree in Molecular and/or Cellular Biology or Biological Sciences
  • The candidate must have a strong handson experience with a range of molecular and cellular biology techniques
  • A good early scientific track record is desirable (peerreviewed articles, attendance in international conferences)
  • Excellent verbal and writing English communication skills, ability to work independently as well as within a team
  • Interest in genetics, experience with relevant projects is an advantage
  • Experience with animal work is considered a strong advantage

Terms of employment

This position is for 4 years during which the candidate is expected to fulfill the requirements to be awarded a PhD degree (publication of peer-reviewed articles and a minimum amount of points from attendance of courses). Starting salary is € 2,279 gross per month according the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO) and it includes holiday allowance and an end of year bonus. We advise the applicants to apply ASAP; when a suitable applicant is found the vacancy will close. Application documents (in PDF format) must contain: letter of motivation, detailed curriculum vitae including photograph, transcripts of degrees (with grades) for BSc and MSc (or MRes), and contact information of three potential referees. Please address applications to e.riesebos@vumc.nl and d.micha@vumc.nl. 

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