PhD positions Rios Group – programme IMAGINE!

The Rios’ group (also named Dream3DLab) is a multi-disciplinary team of imaging and organoid experts, bioengineers and computational scientists to develop 3D technology platforms to target the spatio-dynamic features of cancer and advance immunotherapy in a patient personalized manner. Through this 3D imaging, organoid and computational expertise, the Rios group can guide the Imagine PhD in performing innovate fundamental and translational cancer research, offering technology platforms with high potential to accelerate personalized medicine and improve treatment guidance.

The Princess Máxima (host institute of the Dream3DLab) is the largest childhood oncology center in Europe and facilitates a high-level interdisciplinary research environment strongly connected to clinical care. This forms an excellent environment for rapid clinical translation extended to adult oncology through connections with the University Medical Center Utrecht and Oncode (virtual host institute of the Dream3D Lab); independent Cancer Research Institute of the Netherlands, which provides key valorisation and legal support. The Princess Máxima Center research department offers core facilities and shared resources essential to the project. This includes an Organoid Facility dedicated to providing quality-tested conditioned media and growth factors and, importantly, the Princess Máxima Imaging Center, founded and led by Dr. Rios. The Princess Máxima center stimulates an inspiring, welcoming and inclusive work environment and has an international committee in place to host events for and support international employees. In addition, a strong focus lies on mentoring and career support for early career scientists through round table discussions and open conversations with established scientist in diverse fields of interest.

The gravitational programme IMAGINE!

This position is one of many PhD positions available as part of the gravitational programme IMAGINE! (Innovative Microscopy And Guidance of cells In their Native Environment). IMAGINE! is an interdisciplinary programme combining cell, organoid, and tissue biology, as well as chemical and optical cell manipulation and analysis to study cell behaviour in development and cancer, and targeted drug delivery. Participating institutes are based throughout the Netherlands in Utrecht, Amsterdam, Delft, Rotterdam, Nijmegen, and Eindhoven. For more information on the individual positions, please visit our website

Our programme 

Become part of the new research consortium IMAGINE! (Innovative Microscopy And Guidance of cells In their Native Environment). Our programme aims to transform cell biology by developing and applying advanced microscopy and real-time molecular manipulation techniques to study cells in their natural complexity and diversity. The consortium will form a unique and highly interdisciplinary team that combines cell, organoid, and tissue biology, as well as chemical and optical cell manipulation to study cell behaviour in development, cancer, and targeted drug delivery.

The highly dynamic nature of tumour-targeting by T-cell based cancer immunotherapy is a crucial, yet underexplored area to enhance clinical outcomes for solid tumours that have so far been disappointing. We recently developed BEHAV3D, a technology platform that provides a unique resolution into the dynamic sequence of tumour targeting. This system combines organoid technology and exploits T-cell dynamics to enhance therapy response in a patient-personalized manner. For next-generation BEHAV3D, you will develop deep-learning approaches capable of detecting and segmenting single cells and subsequent tracking to monitor cell dynamics and classify behavior in real-time. In collaboration with the Kapitein lab these robust computational methods will form the foundation for developing smart microscopy systems. Ultimately, such systems will allow for real-time analysis of complex dynamic scenario and light-driven selection of  single cells with specific dynamics and perturbations to alter the cellular state (in collaboration with other members of the IMAGINE! consortium including the Smith lab).


  • Master’s degree (or equivalent) in biology or computational science or physics or mathematics
  • background in: computational science
  • highly motivated and creative
  • skill set: problem solving, analytical thinking
  • proficiency in written and spoken English
  • interest to work in a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary environment

If you feel that this role is the perfect match, but you do not yet meet all the qualifications, we also welcome you to apply.

Working at the Princess Máxima Center

A PhD position with a total duration of 4 years (full-time). You will initially be contracted for a period of one year, after which your performance will be evaluated and the contract may be extended for three more years. You will be working under daily supervision by an experienced senior scientist, in a very stimulating and cross-disciplinary research environment, combining cutting-edge research with state-of-the-art imaging methodology. The results of your studies will open new insights into pediatric cancer pathology and (potentially) treatment. Your gross monthly salary will depend on experience and background, starting in scale 45 with 8,33% gross monthly salary holiday allowance and 8,33 % end-of-year bonus. The Princess Máxima Center operates according to the collective labour agreement ‘cao algemene ziekenhuizen’.

Contact and application

If you are interested in several positions of IMAGINE! we encourage you to apply for multiple positions (please indicate this by including the job title(s) and associated institute(s) in your application letter). Data Privacy note: Applications will be shared between participating institutes of IMAGINE! for the purpose and the duration of the recruitment process.

Please enclose:

  • your letter of motivation
  • your Curriculum vitae
  • reference letters are optional but appreciated

We highly encourage candidates from diverse backgrounds and nationalities to apply. We strive to create an open, diverse, and inclusive work environment for everyone. People of any gender identity, ethnicity or sexual orientation are welcome.

If this specific opportunity isn’t for you, but you know someone else who may be interested, please forward this vacancy to them.

Acquisitie naar aanleiding van deze vacature wordt niet op prijs gesteld.

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