The Academic Centre for Dentistry in Amsterdam (ACTA) is the collaboration of the Faculties of Dentistry at the University of Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. We focus on all aspects of dentistry: from specialized training to outstanding research and the highest-quality patient care.

On the occasion of ACTA’s Honorary Doctorate; ‘celebratory’ PhD position in oral biology (immunology, microbiology, cell biology) to study the relations between oral health and systemic diseases, with special focus on periodontal pathogens and Alzheimer’s disease.

ACTA’s Dental Research Institute is looking for a PhD student for studies in oral biology, in particular with focus on oral immunology, oral microbiology, and oral biochemistry, to study the relations between oral health and systemic diseases, with special focus on periodontal pathogens and Alzheimer’s disease. The position is created on the occasion of the appointed Doctor Honoris Causa, Prof. dr. Jan Potempa, from Krakow, Poland. Oral inflammatory conditions, in particular periodontal disease, are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The pioneering work by the group of Honorary Doctor Jan Potempa on the role of bacteria from oral origin in Alzheimer’s disease became world news. We know that Alzheimer’s disease is a multifactorial disease, but now we can add a role for certain virulent oral bacteria.

What are you going to do

Severe periodontal disease and other oral inflammatory burdens occur in at least 25% of the population aged 50 years and older. Moderate and mild forms occur in at least another 25% of this aging population. This coincides not only with cardiovascular diseases and diabetes,  but also with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.  Disease risk is influenced by an interplay between the various biological factors of the individual. Deeper insight in the biological processes of the host, the oral microbiome and the prevalent “proteolytic” microorganisms with their powerful enzymes is needed to further design preventative and therapeutic actions.

In this 3-year PhD project, we will address immunological mechanisms of periodontal tissues to understand penetration and dissemination of bacterial components such as vesicles. In addition we will study the various proteases from bacterial origin and compare their modes of actions to similar human derived enzymes to determine specificity and targets for therapy. Also the PhD candidate will study, in vitro, blood-brain barrier organelles and endothelial cell barriers to develop state-of-the-art methods to understand brain leakage of oral derived components that have been disseminated into the blood circulation.

What do we require

We are looking for a PhD candidate having/willing:

  • a university (Master) degree, preferably a qualified dentist;
  • additional training and/or degree in Immunology, and/or Microbiology;
  • strong interest in the links between periodontal diseases and systemic conditions;
  • strong interest in a future academic career combining basic research with clinical dental practice;
  • excellent command of the English language (reading, writing and speaking);
  • interest to present data and results to audiences and the ability to explain biological ideas to dental and medical clinicians/non-specialists;
  • ability to work independently, as well as a part of a multidisciplinary team;
  • basic laboratory skills and experience, such as processing clinical samples, running ELISA, growing oral bacterial and fungal strains and/or biofilms in vitro, DNA and RNA extraction, flow cytometry and FACS, PCR, some basic histology knowledge, analytic tools for input of and analysis of biological data sets.

What are we offering

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,395 per month during the first year and increases to €3,061 per month during the third year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system (PhD) and is vacant for at least 1 FTE (38 hours per week). The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 2 years.

Additionally, ACTA offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment;
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • solid pension scheme (ABP).

Further information

If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

About the ACTA

Working at ACTA is working on leading international research and training. Currently, ACTA ranked second in the QS World University Rankings. In addition to being an educational and research institution, ACTA also provides healthcare services. You will be working with peers from a variety of disciplines. ACTA has nearly 500 staff members and around 900 students who are taking the Dentistry programme. Around 300 patients visit ACTA every day on average.

Diversity is one of our university’s core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 31 January 2021. Please upload you curriculum vitae and motivation letter.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed

No agencies please

Apply now

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