The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Institute of Chemistry are looking for a:
PhD candidate in the field of supramolecular biomaterials (1.0 fte)
Vacancy number: 22-398

Project description
The biochemical and biophysical cues of the stem cell environment that act in a concerted and spatiotemporal manner lead to the formation of the 200 cell types and organs of the human body; how this precisely occurs remains unclear, but it is necessary to guide their production for use in the biomedical area. Standard differentiation protocols in vitro mimic known stages in development by the timed addition of biochemical cues on 2D substrates, however these protocols lack the complexity of the 3D natural extracellular matrix (ECM), with its mechanical character that evolves in time. Supramolecular materials can recapitulate the structural and dynamic character of the ECM being based on non-covalent interactions, however their mechanically soft character remains challenging to mimic the properties of adult tissues. In this project, we will synthesize and study supramolecular materials whose properties can be mechanically modified in both space and time using external triggers for the culture of induced pluripotent stem cells and their differentiation to cardiomyocytes. 

Selection criteria
•    Master’s degree in Chemistry;
•    Experience with organic synthesis and materials characterization;
•    Excellent proficiency in English;
•    Ability to work as a team player in a multidisciplinary environment;
•    Initiative, creativity and an independent working attitude are highly valued

Our organisation
The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development is top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.
The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organized in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programs. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,300 staff and almost 5,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

The chemistry and life science research in the Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC) is organized around two major research areas: ‘Chemical Biology’ and ‘Energy & Sustainability’. The institute’s research themes illustrate the central position of chemistry between biology, medicine and physics. The various research topics carried out within these themes are ideal for executing interdisciplinary research.

Terms and conditions
We offer a full-time position for initially one year. After positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary range from € 2.540 to € 3.245 gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).
Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

All our PhD candidates are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness. 

Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

If you have any questions regarding the application procedure, please contact Mrs. Michelle van der Haar (management assistant), . Enquiries related to the project can be made to Dr. Roxanne Kieltyka,

Please send your application to Mrs. Michelle van der Haar, , including the following documents:
•    A letter of motivation;
•    An updated CV;
•    Copy of master’s thesis or any other publication (if available);
•    The transcripts of your MSc studies and copy of your degree;
•    Written letters of recommendation by at least two former supervisors.
Application deadline is August 7th. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

Apply now

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