Targeted inhibition of novel immune checkpoints

Keywords: immune checkpoints, RNAseq, bispecific antibody, drug-delivery, surface modification nanoparticles

1st Hosting institution: Location: UMCG, Groningen, Netherlands; Duration: 18 months

2nd Hosting institution: Location: Surflay, Berlin, Germany; Duration: 18 months


Intended start date: June 2019

Job Description: PhD position: This PhD student position offers an exciting and innovative research project that aims to uncover and develop new immune checkpoints for cancer immunotherapy and will result in a PhD thesis. The project is dedicated to the validation and therapeutic antibody-based targeting of new immune checkpoints recently identified at the UMCG using (single cell) RNA sequencing of tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes. Further, antibodies will be embedded in drug delivery systems based on nanoparticles, e.g. optimized for long-term circulation and targeting to the tumour site by passive EPR mechanism and active binding of antibodies/peptides to the surface of particles.

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 at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) / Netherlands, one of the leading academic centers of the Netherlands. At the UMCG, functional immunomodulatory activity of the new therapeutic approach will be performed using patient-derived tumor and immune cells. After 18 months, the candidate will continue in Berlin / Germany at the nanobiotechnology company Surflay Nanotec GmbH. Surflay is a leading company in nanoparticle development and binding analysis using whispering galley mode. 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.

Key Responsibilities:



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