PhD position: The contribution of the endosomal sorting machinery to metabolism


Department of Pediatrics

Working Enviroment

The University of Groningen and the University Medical Center Groningen offer an excellent environment for research and training of scientific skills. The group of Prof. Bart van de Sluis focuses on the understanding of how the endo-lysosomal system is molecularly regulated and how it is connected to maintain lipid homeostasis. His team works together with the group of Prof. Jan Albert Kuivenhoven and both groups are imbedded in the Department of Pediatrics at the University Medical Center Groningen. The department aims at understanding the molecular principles of metabolic health and mechanism underlying the development of inborn and acquired diseases. It is interested in understanding the etiology of various complex diseases, with a specific focus on inflammation, dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease. In the recent years, we have developed a powerful combination of techniques (e.g. CRISPR/Cas9 technology, proteomics) and in vivo models to study molecular mechanism that are involved in the above-mentioned pathologies. This knowledge will be applied to improve diagnostics and/or effective prevention and treatment.

Website: Laboratory of Pediatrics.

This project is part of “Training Network in Understanding the Molecular Regulation and the Role of Endo-Lysosomal Processes in Cardio-metabolic Diseases” (EndoConnect), a large European Innovative Training Network (ITN) consortium. EndoConnect consists of 12 European partners and offers a training program for 15 PhD students. EndoConnect will train 15 highly-skilled PhD students – all gaining a doctoral degree – with in-depth knowledge and cross-disciplinary expertise in molecular, cellular, physiological, and clinical aspects of endo-lysosomal processes in cardio-metabolic disorders. In addition, we will provide the ESRs transferable and networking skills, an entrepreneurship mind-set, and first-hand experience of industrial application. This will enable them to become future leading scientists who bring research on endo-lysosomal processes to a higher level by connecting fundamental knowledge to physiological and clinical relevance.

For a more detailed description of the project and the Team please visit the website: EndoConnect.

Job description

Cardio-metabolic diseases, including atherosclerosis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), account for almost 40% of all death worldwide every year, and thus form a heavy burden on our society and health care system. Increasing our knowledge on the molecular mechanism underlying these diseases will provide tools to improve prognosis, diagnosis and ultimately treatment of patients with cardio-metabolic diseases.

The candidate will perform mechanistic studies in genetically engineered mouse models to understand the role of endo-lysosomal system in the development and progression of liver diseases, including NAFLD and liver cancer. The studies with preclinical mouse models will be combined with in vitro experiments. Cells and tissues samples will be analyzed at the cell biological (immunofluorescence), histological, transcriptional, and biochemical (proteomics) level. Under dedicated supervision, you will be responsible to successfully complete your PhD training program, present at national/international scientific conferences, and report in scientific renowned journals.

You will have the following main responsibilities and tasks:
- Develop and characterize pre-clinical models to investigate the role of the endosomal sorting machinery in NAFLD and liver cancer.
- Set up and characterize in vitro models to understand the mechanism by which the endosomal sorting machinery controls lipid homeostasis and specific signaling pathways related to liver cancer.
- Develop histology and immune histochemistry techniques to characterize the in vivo models.
- Perform and analyze transcriptomics and proteomics data.


- A completed master’s degree in life sciences, molecular cell biology, biochemistry, molecular genetics or a related field.
- The candidate should be able to work in a team of fellow PhD students and technicians.
- Strong problem-solving capacities, is pro-active and a creative thinker.
- Experience in molecular and cell biology techniques, histology, cell signaling and mouse handling.
- Strong motivation for scientific research in an interdisciplinary and international environment.
- Excellent English presentation and writing skills.
- Good organizational and communication skills.

Successful candidates must fulfil the criteria defined by the European Commission:
- As an Early Stage Researcher, you have to be in the first four years of your research career and have not been awarded a doctoral degree at the time of recruitment.
- At the time of recruitment by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organisation (the Netherlands) for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date.

Conditions of employment

A temporary fulltime contract, first for one year with the option of renewal for another two years upon evaluation. Your salary will be a minimum of € 2.570,- gross per month in the first year and a maximum of € 3.125,- gross per month (scale PhD) 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).

The successful candidate needs to start in the position by the 1st of September 2022.

Additional information

For more information about this vacancy you may contact:

prof. Bart van de Sluis

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 31 May 2022. Within half an hour after sending the digital application form you will receive an email- confirmation with further information.

Digital application form