PhD-position PROCARE consortium: Prediction of Kidney Graft survival by Immune p


Department of Nephrology and Pathology and Medical Biology

Working Enviroment

The departments of Nephrology and Pathology and Medical Biology collaborate in preclinical and clinical research. This project is part of the national PROCARE 2 consortium in which all Dutch kidney transplant centers collaborate. In this workpackage the main collaborator will be the Leiden Transplant Immunology Group. The research is embedded within the GUIDE research institutes Groningen Kidney Center and Translational Immunology Groningen (TRIGR). The project is sponsored by The Dutch Kidney Foundation.

Project Description
PROCARE consortium: Prediction of Kidney Graft survival by Immune profiling: towards clinical application in personal medicine.

Kidney transplantation is the best treatment option for patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD). However, rejection is still a frequent complication and especially for antibody mediated rejection (ABMR) treatment options are limited. The PROCARE consortium aims to assess in a prospective study the clinical relevance of novel technology, thereby contributing to improve monitoring of immunological high-risk patients after renal transplantation and response to treatment for antibody-mediated rejection. Current immunological risk stratification for patients awaiting a kidney transplant is based on the detection of circulating HLA antibodies. This is an effective way to determine risk, however ABMR still occurs, and this might be predicted by the presence of alloreactive B cell memory and non-HLA antibodies. In a prospective study 150 patients who are immunological high-risk for rejection and transplanted in The Netherlands will be included. In collaboration with the Leiden Transplant Immunology group the clinical relevance of alloreactive B cell memory, balance between B cell effectors and regulators and non-HLA antibodies will be studied in these patients.

Despite non-HLA antibodies being indicated as being involved in allograft rejection screening for this kind of antibodies has not yet been implemented in routine clinical practice. We and others have shown that deleterious anti-endothelial cell antibodies (AECA) could be detected by endothelial cell crossmatches and are associated with an increased risk of allograft rejection. It remains unclear who should be tested for these antibodies, whether we have identified relevant antigens and what the clinical implications of the presence or appearance of AECA are.

Project aims
- Development of an optimal B cell stimulation assay, and measurement of HLA-specific B cell memory pre- and post-transplant and correlation with clinical outcome in collaboration with the Leiden Immunology Group.
- Analysis of balance between B cell regulators and effectors on the occurrence of rejection and outcome in kidney transplantion.
- Determination of HLA and non HLA antibodies in pre- and post-transplant sera and correlation with clinical outcome.
- Establishment of a kidney derived endothelial cell bank covering the majority of know non-HLA polymorphisms that can be used for endothelial crossmatch assays.
- Development of anti-endothelial cell crossmatch assays and correlation with clinical outcome.

Job description

You will perform in vitro and in vivo studies in the laboratory of our department and will complete your PhD thesis within 3 years. You will investigate whether B cell memory and signatures, and non-HLA antibodies can be identified that predict ABMR in kidney transplant recipients and whether this can aid in the management of the individual patient.


An excellent, highly motivated candidate with affinity for the experimental as well as theoretical aspects of the project. Sound immunological knowledge along with excellent communication skills, fluency in English (both written and spoken) and the ability to work independently and in a team are prerequisites. The successful candidate should hold a master’s degree in biological sciences or related fields.

The UMCG has a preventive Hepatitis B policy. The UMCG can provide you with the vaccination, should it be required for your position.

In case of specific professions a ‘Certificate of Good Conduct’ is required.

Conditions of employment

It concerns a temporary position for one year on a fulltime basis (36 hours/week) with a formal evaluation after one year and thereafter prolongation for a maximum of 3 years. Your salary will be a minimum of € 2.495,- gross per month in the first year and a maximum of € 3.050,- (scale PRO) in the third year, based on a full-time appointment. In addition, the UMCG will offer you 8% holiday pay, and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. The conditions of employment comply with the Collective Labour Agreement for Medical Centres (CAO-UMC). English:

Start date: 1-11-2020

For more information please contact:
- Dr. J.S.F. Sanders, Nephrology,, +31-50-361 92 70
- Prof. dr. S.P. Berger, Nephrology,, +31-50-361 92 70
- Prof. dr. P. Heeringa, Medical Biology,, +31-50-361 07 89
Please do not use the e-mail addresses for applications.

Additional information

Applying for a job

Please use the the digital application form at the bottom of this page - only these will be processed. You can apply until 4 October 2020. Within half an hour after sending the digital application form you will receive an email- confirmation with further information.

Digital application form