Job Properties
  • Job Type
    Full-time Position
  • Category
    Research & Science
  • Languages
    English Dutch
  • Experience Required
  • Degree Required
    • Province
    • Date Posted
      November 12,2021
    • JSS
    • VISA
    • IMG_6430
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    PhD cell-based immuno assays and glycan modifications

    It has been estimated that 11-26 million people of the European population suffer from food allergies. The majority of food allergies are caused by proteins from cow’s milk, peanut, and nuts. In the most severe cases, food allergies can result in systemic allergic responses, which is also known as anaphylaxis that is life-threatening. Oral tolerance is an emerging approach to reduce the burden of disease, but has many side-effects and might lead to only temporary desensitization and not tolerance. Therefore, approaches need to be developed for allergen exposure that can induce tolerogenic responses. In this programme, we will develop a new approach for inducing oral tolerance to food proteins by modification with tolerogenic glycans. A consortium of academic (UU), clinical (UMCU), and industrial Researchers (Danone & Enzitag) will develop a new approach to induce oral tolerance by controlled attachment of immune-modulatory glycans to several allergenic food proteins derived from cow’s milk and peanut. The resulting protein-glycan and peptide-glycan conjugates will be used in systematic studies to determine tolerogenic properties by examining antigen-presentation routes and subsequent immunological responses. Compounds of interest will be further tested for their tolerogenic capacity by ex vivo approaches using immune cells from allergic subjects. It is the expectation that this programme will provide new concepts and lead compounds for the prevention and/or management of food allergies

    For this project, we seek a highly motivated biomedical scientist/immunologist or equivalent background to develop and perform cell-based assays to establish the influence of glycan modifications of allergenic peptides and proteins on the interplay between DCs and T-cells, B cells and effector cells (basophils and mast cells) using a variety of experimental approaches including cytokine release and phenotypic characterization of immune cells (FACS), and the capacity of modified protein/peptides to induce a tolerogenic allergen-specific T-cell response using cells from allergic donors.


    The Department of Dermatology/Allergology of the UMC Utrecht (JCI credited) offers care to patients with skin disorders and allergic diseases and performs scientific research. The department occupies an international top position in the field of food allergies (in children and adults). We are also one of the most important centers in the world in the field of eczema, urticaria/angioedema. Nationally, UMC Utrecht is the only NFU (Dutch Federation of University Medical Centers) recognized expertise center for food allergies and eczema for both children and adults. The research is done in close collaboration with partners of the Center for Translational Immunology within the UMCU, which gives us access to many laboratory facilities equipped with high standard, and very advanced methodologies and instruments.


    We are looking for a candidate who meets the following requirements:

    • Completed Master in biomedical sciences, immunology or similar;
    • Experience with cell culture (e.g., DCs, T cells, B cells , effector cells);
    • Experience with phenotypic characterization immune cells (e.g., FACS analyses, ELISA and Luminex assays);
    • Good level of spoken and written English language skills;
    • You work well independently as well as in a team and are willing to assist colleagues in their research;
    • You are critical, eager to learn and curious and you have good communication skills;

    The position is provisional for a period of 1 year, with the prospect of extension for a further 3 years. The goal is a promotion. We would like to fill this position as soon as possible (December 2021).

    We believe in the power of a diverse team in which there is room for different skills, expertise, and social and cultural backgrounds. We invite you to respond to this vacancy.

    The maximum salary for this position (36 - 40 hours) is € 4.615,00 gross per month based on full-time employment.

    In addition, we offer an annual benefit of 8.3%, holiday allowance, travel expenses and career opportunities. The terms of employment are in accordance with the Cao University Medical Centers (UMC).

    More information

    If you have any questions about this vacancy, please contact Kitty Verhoeckx, Assistent Professor A, phone number: 088 75 509 30, e‑mail adress:

    Acquisition based on this jobopening is not appreciated.

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