PhD in communication between immune cells & neurons in Parkinson’s disease (2.0 FTE)

University of Groningen
March 15, 2023
Offerd Salary:€ 2,541
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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PhD in communication between immune cells & neurons in Parkinson's disease

(2.0 FTE) (V23.0095)

Job description

The PhD candidates will work in the Dolga (GRIP) and Kortholt group (GBB), who have a long-term collaboration on studying the mechanisms of Parkinson's disease. The groups have mid-sized labs with around 10 lab members. This size is large enough for critical mass, but small enough to warrant excellent support from the advisor.

An emerging hypothesis in neurodegenerative diseases points towards a miscommunication between neuronal cells and the brain immune cells, microglia. In Parkinson's disease (PD), defects in neuronal firing and immune cell activation appear much earlier than the clinical symptoms. Mutations in Leucine rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are thus far the most frequent cause of late-onset and idiopathic PD. Interestingly, all LRRK2 mutations lead to an increase kinase activity, and LRRK2 activity was found enhanced in idiopathic PD postmortem brain. Furthermore, expressed in both neuronal and microglial cells; LRRK2 is being considered as an essential player in PD pathogenesis. LRRK2 mutations result in increased α-synuclein aggregates, mitochondrial dysfunction and neuroinflammation. This project is based on the hypothesis that modulation of LRRK2 activity will provide improved functions of microglia and neurons in PD.

In this, by ZonMW funded, project we combine the excellent expertise of the Boddeke lab (microglia cell biology, RNA sequencing - https: // www., Dolga lab (cell metabolism, and iPSC differentiation into microglia/neurons - https: // www. and Kortholt lab (LRRK2 biology - https: // www. to characterize the complex activation mechanism and function of LRRK2 in immunity and cell metabolism in PD.

About the University of Groningen Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative center of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage currently more than 36,000 students and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Belonging to the best research universities in Europe and the top 100 universities in the world, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.


The successful applicant has:

• a Master degree in one of the following expertise: pharmacy, Molecular Biology, Biomedical sciences, biochemistry, or related disciplines • a good command of English (oral and written) • enthusiastic and a team player.

We are convinced that excellent candidates with the right motivation can learn everything. Some experience with mammalian cell culture, biochemical studies, iPSC differentiation, bioinformatics or microscopy, however, would be helpful.

Organisation Conditions of employment

We offer stimulating scientific environment, access of state-of-the-art devices and techniques, and a beautiful and modern working environment.

In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a salary of € 2,541 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,247 gross per month in the fourth and final year • a full-time position (1.0 FTE) • a holiday allowance of 8% of gross annual income • an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance • minimum of 29 holidays and additional 12 holidays in case of full-time employment.

The successful candidates will first be offered 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 successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected. A PhD training program is part of the agreement and the successful candidates will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.

The preferred starting date is 1 May 2023


Please send us a complete application with the below-mentioned supporting documents as a single PDF:

• cover letter with background and motivation • curriculum vitae, including PhD and Master's degree, work and research experience, and a publication list • two academic referees with contact details.

You may apply for this position until 15 March 2023 11:59pm / before 16 March 2023 Dutch local time (CET) 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: https: // www. strategy/diversity-and-inclusion/

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

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

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

  • Prof. A.M. Dolga, a.m.dolga
  • Prof. A. Kortholt, A.Kortholt
  • Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.

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