HOURS PER WEEK: 26 to 40FACULTY: Faculty of ScienceDEPARTMENT: Departement of Pharmaceutical SciencesAPPLICATION DEADLINE: 11 September 2023



Job description

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the most common lung diseases worldwide, and is characterized by an accelerated loss of lung function. A key problem underlying COPD is increased tissue destruction in combination with defective lung tissue repair. As current therapies do not modify the progression of the disease, new therapies aimed at restoring lung tissue repair in COPD need to be developed. The exacerbation period may offer an opportunity to overcome this problem. Lung function decline in COPD is highest in the period during and immediately following an exacerbation. Furthermore, the exacerbation appears to be a period characterized by both concentrated disease burden and simultaneous repair pathway activation. Therefore, we hypothesize that the COPD exacerbation represents a therapeutic window for lung repair.

In this project of the Dutch Lung Foundation, a team with expertise in pre-clinical and clinical pharmacology, lung repair, and clinical COPD exacerbations from Utrecht University (dr. Saskia Braber 

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),the University of Groningen (Prof. dr. Reinoud Gosens 

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The results of the project will greatly advance our understanding of the biological mechanisms involved in the interplay between inflammation and lung repair following an exacerbation and provide proof-of-concept that this window may be ideal for regenerative pharmacology to foster lung repair.

The overall aim of the project is: to advance our understanding of the biological mechanisms involved in dysfunctional lung repair following an exacerbation, to understand why this is inadequate in COPD, and to provide in vivo proof-of-concept that the exacerbation period represents a therapeutic window for regenerative pharmacological intervention to promote lung repair.

Key objectives
We will use a mix of in vivo studies and clinical databases to understand the regenerative biology and differential patient biology associated with and following exacerbations. Using this knowledge, we will identify novel therapeutic targets to boost lung repair following an exacerbation. We will evaluate the regenerative efficacy of a novel target along with our previously identified target (EP4) in the context of the exacerbation period.
Specifically, the objectives of our experiments are:

  • To generate knowledge about the incomplete/insufficient lung tissue repair processes following an exacerbation and to identify how a background of low-grade inflammation impact on lung tissue repair following an exacerbation (murine model).
  • To map the altered gene expression profile related to lung repair during and following a COPD exacerbation (patients).
  • To therapeutically correct the defect(s) to accelerate endogenous lung tissue repair using our previously identified target à Prostaglandin E2 Receptor 4 (EP4) and novel identified targets.


  • You are a highly motivated life science candidate, with an interest in lung diseases, cellular mechanisms, signaling pathways and regenerative medicine.
  • You hold a PhD with a background in (cell)biology, pharmacology, animal sciences, or a related field.
  • Strong intrinsic motivation for doing science, a natural curiosity, and the ability to work independently and as a part of a team.
  • Experience with in vivo modelling (Art. 9) and analyzing large datasets.
  • Professional working proficiency external link in English, including scientific writing.


  • A position for initially one year (0.7 – 0.8 FTE), with the possibility of an extension for a maximum of 2 more years (the duration of the extension depends on the size of the contract);
  • A full-time gross salary – depending on previous qualifications and experience – that ranges between €3,720 and €4,332 (scale 10.3-10.7 according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month;
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • A pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition to the employment conditions from the CAO for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. These include agreements on professional development, leave arrangements and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment through the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we encourage you to grow.

For more information, please visit working at the Faculty of Science

About the organisation

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University 

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, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability. You can watch the Utrecht University Campus Tour 

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At the Faculty of Science 

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, there are 6 departments to make a fundamental connection with: Biology, Chemistry, Information and Computing Sciences, Mathematics, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Physics. Each of these is made up of distinct institutes that work together to focus on answering some of humanity’s most pressing problems. More fundamental still are the individual research groups – the building blocks of our ambitious scientific projects. Find out more about us at Working at the Faculty of Science 

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You will join the Pharmacology group 

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 of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences 

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Additional information

If you have any questions that you’d like us to answer, please contact Dr. Saskia Braber 

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 (Researcher) at s.braber@uu.nl 

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Do you have a question about the application procedure? Please send an email to science.recruitment@uu.nl 

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Everyone deserves to feel at home 

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 at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. 

If you are enthusiastic about this position, just apply via the “Apply” button! Please enclose:

  • your letter of motivation, in which you indicate from which month you are available for the position;
  • your curriculum vitae.

If this specific opportunity isn’t for you, but you know someone else who may be interested, please forward this vacancy to them.

Some connections are fundamental – Be one of them 

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The application deadline is 11 September 2023.


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