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Wageningen University & Research (WUR)

Two PhD positions
intestine on chip

We are looking for

Do you want to study how intestinal stem cells can be used in Organ-on-Chip technology and used in toxicological studies? Do you want to understand how nutrients and chemicals in our food interact with the intestinal epithelium and immune system? Are you motivated to work in an interdisciplinary team of scientists embedded in an ambitions Dutch research consortium?

We have two PhD positions that combine intestinal stem cell biology with immunology in Organ-on-Chip models at the chair group of Toxicology. Are you the PhD student we are looking for? 

We are looking for an enthusiastic stem cell biologists with affinity for toxicology and immunology. You will set up an intestine-on-chip based on induced pluripotent stem cells in which you combine these with lymphatic endothelial cells (PhD A) and intestinal immune cells (PhD B). 

You will implement your excellent cell culturing skills and exploit molecular assays (i.e. routine cell biology and biochemical measurements, ELISA and confocal microscopy) and gene expression studies (i.e. qPCR, NGS) in your mechanistic studies. Next to building and benchmarking the models, you have the ambition to understand the mode of action of food chemicals and nutrients on intestinal physiology. 

You will be embedded in the chair group of Toxicology and collaborate with the chair group of cell biology and immunology at Wageningen University and the group Food and Biobased Research. As part of the chair group, you will also be involved in training MSc and BSc students. 

About the project:
This project is part of the LymphChip project funded by NWO in which 6 Dutch universities (Leiden UMC dr. Valeria Orlova overall project coordinator; AMC, UT, TUD, UM) and several private partners collaborate. In this project lymphatic cells will be integrated with heart, skin and intestinal stem-cell based models on advanced microfluidic chips.
The research is embedded within the Toxicology chair group. You will be co-supervised by Dr. ir. Hans Bouwmeester, Dr. Coen Govers and Dr. Tamara Hoppenbrouwers.

We ask

You have:

  • successfully completed MSc degree in biology, molecular life sciences, toxicology or immunology or a relevant related field;
  • the ability to perform independent lab work, and affinity for the collaborative nature of this project;
  • excellent English language proficiency (a minimum of CEFR C2 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page;
  • proven experience in working with (intestinal) stem cells, immune cells and/or organ-on-chip models, this will be considered as a pre;
  • worked with molecular biology techniques (i.e. cytotoxicity assays, qPCR). Experience with confocal microscopy, and -omics techniques will also be considered as a pre;
  • you are highly driven and curious. “Why?” is a question you often ask, both inside and outside of science.

We offer

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our  Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.434,- per month rising to € 3.111,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.
There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the Best University in the Netherlands for the 16th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family. 

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research’s International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

More information

For more information about this position, please contact Hans Bouwmeester, Associate professor Toxicology, by email:
For more information about the procedure, please contact Rutger Voorrips, Recruiter, by email:

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval. 

Indicate in your application if you are mainly interested in PhD A or PhD B. Also, make sure your motivation letter is tailored to the vacancy and is not just a description of your resume.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including Thursday, December 2nd 2021. We hope to schedule the first job interviews in week 50 and 51 of  2021. The preferred starting date for these positions are before summer 2022.

Equal opportunities 
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our  inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

We are

The mission of Wageningen University and Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 6.800 employees and 12.900 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!