Development of Adenosine-2A-Receptor (A2AR)-targeting bispecific antibodies and preclinical validation tools

Keywords: Bioanalysis, microparticles, nanoparticles, surface modification, drug-delivery, bispecific antibodies

1st Hosting institution: Location: Surflay, Berlin, Germany; Duration: 18 months

2nd Hosting institution: Location: UMCG, Groningen, Netherlands; Duration: 18 months


Intended start date: September 2019

Job Description: PhD student position (3 years): This challenging PhD opportunity offers an exciting and innovative research project at the intersection of biotechnology and physical chemistry that will end in a PhD thesis. In brief, a novel bispecific antibody-based approach that removes an important checkpoint on anticancer T cell immunity, namely inhibition by A2AR signaling, will be developed. This approach will be tested in several in-house developed model systems, including microparticles with tumor surface properties, for tumor-selective binding and for functional immunomodulatory activity.

The PhD candidate will be working as part of an international consortium on their search for an immunotherapeutic approach to cancer treatment and will start their 3 year research project in Berlin / Germany at the nanobiotechnology company Surflay Nanotec GmbH. Surflay is a leading company in microparticle design and binding analysis using whispering galley mode. After 18 months, the candidate will continue at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) / Netherlands, one of the leading academic centers of the Netherlands, for another 18 months. At the UMCG, functional immunomodulatory activity of the new therapeutic approach will be performed using patient-derived tumor and immune cells. With this project, the candidate will acquire experience in both industrial and academic research. This research project will end with a PhD thesis defense at the University of Groningen.

This project is part of a collaborative training network of 10 closely related projects in which PhD students will benefit from networking opportunities. This includes a multidisciplinary training programme with network-wide training events that will be provided to the candidates. Herewith, this project will yield the candidate a unique opportunity to obtain knowledge/expertise on important facets of academia and industry.

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