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Phd Student

Apply before: 25 April 2020
Working time: Day
Working hours: 36 hours per week
Discipline: AMC Medical Research (AMR)
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What you are going to do

Lyme disease (LD) or Lyme borreliosis (LB) is caused by spirochetes belonging to Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato group and gives rise to a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations affecting multiple organ systems. The spirochetescirculate in nature in a complex enzootic cycle and primarily transmitted by hard-bodied Ixodes ticks – I. scapularis/pacificus in the U.S.A., I. ricinus in Europe and I. persulcatus in parts of Asia – and several reservoir hosts (small mammals and birds). The number of annually reported cases for tick-borne diseases (TBDs; especially LB) has been continuously increasing over the last two decades with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting 59,349 in the United States and approximately 85,000 for LB only, in Europe. However, estimates are even higher – specifically for LB – with the number of new infections to be as high as 330,000 and 250,000 in the U.S and Europe, respectively. LYMErix™, a vaccine against LB was available for human use in 1998 in the U.S was later withdrawn in 2002 due to negative advise and potential adverse effects. Since then, no commercial vaccine has been launched in the market, which clearly underscores the urgent need for the development of new vaccines, to prevent the rapid increase of LB and other TBDs worldwide.

The PhD student will be involved in a cutting edge project aiming to identify and characterize novel vaccine candidates that will encompass proteins from both the vector (Ixodes tick) as well as the causative pathogen (Borrelia), a double edged sword that might not only provide protection against LB, but also other TBDs. The PhD student will focus on the characterization of novel Borrelia proteins (identified as part of an ongoing project), as well as tick proteins, and describe their role in tick-host-pathogen interactions. In addition, the PhD candidate will assess immunogenicity of these vaccine candidates using different adjuvants, as well as novel vaccination platforms, e.g. outer membrane vesicles. This will be followed by assessing the efficacy of these candidates in a well-established tick-Borrelia-mouse model, aiming to find of a novel vaccine to prevent LB.

Specific tasks:

  1. Molecular cloning, expression and purification of proteins
  2. Characterization of the role of these proteins in tick-host-pathogen interactions in vitro and in vivo
  3. Testing different formulations and vaccination platforms to determine and improve immunogenicity
  4. Assessing protection of promising candidates using optimal formulations and vaccination platforms in tick-Borrelia mouse models
  5. Collaborating with established national and international partners and actively seeking new collaborations

What we expect from you

We are looking for a highly motivated and pro-active candidate with:

  • A Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences with a previous laboratory experience in molecular and infection biology and a strong interest in vaccine research
  • Experience with basic bioinformatics and immunology is preferred, but not mandatory
  • Certification on Article 9 Laboratory Animal Science Course (LAS) is highly desirable
  • A team player with own initiative for performing experiments, generation and critical evaluation of scientific data
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English

Where you are going to work

The Amsterdam UMC, location AMC, houses the university hospital and the medical faculty of the University of Amsterdam, as well as several research institutes. Infectious Diseases represents one of the major research topics at the AMC, integrated in a multidisciplinary fashion at the Amsterdam Infection & Immunity Institute (AI&II).

This research will take place at the Center for Experimental and Molecular Medicine (CEMM).

The mission of CEMM is to perform high quality translational research, bridging fundamental research with preclinical and clinical investigations in the field of Oncology, Infectious Diseases, and Blood Coagulation & Inflammation (i.e. the research groups housed in CEMM). It is the ambition of CEMM to facilitate translational science in the broadest of terms, maintaining strong ties with clinical departments and providing an optimal infrastructure and multidisciplinary environment for the scientific flourish of our research groups. The number one goal is to produce high quality, translational and impactful research.

The Lyme team is a dynamic young and ambitious group within CEMM with multiple PhD students, post-docs, technicians, physicians and a variable number of graduate students. The candidate will be working closely together with one of the post-docs and our biotechnician.

What we offer you 

We offer you ample opportunity for development, deepening and broadening, additional training and a place to grow! Working at AMR means working in an inspiring and professional environment where development is encouraged in every respect.

  • The maximum gross monthly salary based on a 36-hour work week is €3.103,- (scale OIO CAO UMC).
  • The base salary does not include holiday pay (8%) and a year-end bonus (8.3%).
  • We offer a contract for 48 months.
  • In addition to excellent accessibility by public transport, AMC also has a sufficient number of parking spaces for employees.
  • Pension is accrued at Be Frank.

For an overview of all our other terms of employment, see https://werkenbijamc.nl/arbeidsvoorwaarden-amr/.

Let’s meet 

If you would like to apply directly, please use the ‘apply’ button on this page.
If you would like more information, please feel free to contact Abhijeet Nayak, via 020 -56 66034 or a.nayak@amsterdamumc.nl. 

We look forward to meeting you!

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Door het coronavirus ligt de focus nu op de zorg in Amsterdam UMC. Dit kan de sollicitatieprocedure beïnvloeden. Klik op deze link voor meer informatie.


Because of the corona virus, healthcare is our main focus now in Amsterdam UMC. This can affect the application procedure. Click on this link for more information.