PhD position in cancer biology: “Cell cycle checkpoints in cancer therapy”


Medische Oncologie

Working Enviroment

A PhD position for 4 years is available in the research group of Prof. Marcel van Vugt. The lab is focused on cell cycle regulation and DNA damage responses in cancer cells in relation to inflammatory signaling. The research group is embedded in the department of Medical Oncology of the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) in the Netherlands, where oncological patient care is coordinated with preclinical and fundamental research on the biology and treatment of cancer. The department of Medical Oncology participates in the Groningen Cancer Research Center (GCRC) graduate School of the University of Groningen, in which molecular biologists, pharmacists and clinicians work closely together creating an optimal and excellent environment where the biological behavior of cancer cells, molecular imaging of tumors and novel approaches of cancer targeting are studied.

Job description

The goal of the project is to establish how cell cycle control mechanisms can be most targeted in cancer cells to trigger an anti-cancer immune response.
Cancer cells have elevated levels of DNA damage, either due to defects in DNA repair, deregulated DNA replication or treatment with chemotherapeutic agents. In order to survive in the context of DNA damage, cells are equipped with cell cycle checkpoints. Activation of these checkpoints slows down proliferation and allows time for repair. Cell cycle checkpoints thereby maintain viability of cancer cells, and kinases involved in checkpoint regulation are actively studied as drug targets. This project is focused on uncovering the genetic determinants that control efficacy of targeting cell cycle checkpoints, and will additionally be focused on elucidating how cell cycle checkpoint inhibitors can be used to induce inflammatory signaling and improve responses to cancer immunotherapy.
This project will involve cell biological, biochemical, microscopy and genetic approaches. As part of this project, we will validate our findings in patient material.


The PhD student will be part of an enthusiastic and multidisciplinary research group and should have the following requirements:
- education/skills: MSc in Life Science (Biology, Molecular Biology, or related);
- relevant experience in molecular and cell biology techniques (e.g. cell culture, microscopy etc);
- an enthusiastic, ambitious team player.

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

Conditions of employment

You will get a full-time appointment (36 hours week) for a period of four years to be concluded with a PhD examination. After one year, the performance of the candidate will be evaluated to decide whether there is sufficient progress to expect a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the coming three years. Duration of the contract: one year with possibility for extension (funding available for four years). Your salary will be a minimum of € 2.789,- gross per month in the first year and a maximum of € 3.536,- gross per month (scale PhD) in the final (4th) 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).

Additional information

For more information about this vacancy you may contact:

Marcel van Vugt telefoonnummer 06 2110 2028

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 23 March 2023. Within half an hour after sending the digital application form you will receive an email- confirmation with further information.

Digital application form