Molecular-cell biologist

Group Looijenga

In the germ cell tumor group, we have an open position for a postdoc with experience in cellular and molecular biology as well as bioinformatics.

Background information germ cell tumor research group

Germ Cell Tumors (GCT) are considered to be highly heterogeneous and complex, both regarding origin, histological constitution as well as clinical behavior. Investigations on normal developmental processes related to germ cell and gonadal formation and maturation combined with integrated and omics-based studies on germ cell tumors, stimulated novel and clinically relevant insights. This resulted in a modified classification system, currently accepted by the WHO (World Health Organization, 2016). Current studies will further elucidate the mechanism(s) responsible for their origin and clinical behavior, including their initiation related to a disturbed micro-environment and their overall sensitivity to systematic treatment and the exceptional resistance. This will allow optimal treatment of the individual patient with minimal (long term) side effects.

The project

A wealth of novel information is available related to histology- and omics-based investigations of both primary and metastatic germ cell tumors as well as derived cell lines. These include DNA numerical copy number changes as well as structural aberrations, somatic mutations and epigenetic constitution. In addition, RNA based analyses (both mRNA as well as noncoding RNA) and proteomics datasets are available. This unique dataset allows investigations on the origin as well as the progression related mechanisms, including metastatic capacity. One of the major findings so far is that these tumors hardly show somatic (driver) mutations, indicating that polyploidization and subsequent relative loss ad gain of an (almost) completely demethylated (and erased) embryonic germ cell is the driving force in the development of this type of cancer. This might explain their exceptional sensitivity to DNA damaging agents, and the consistent expression of embryonic (stem cell) markers, suitable for histological diagnosis, including OCT3/4 (e.g.) POU5F1, SOX2 and SOX17. In addition, a defined set of microRNAs (i.e, hsa-miR-371-3 family) is highly expressed in all histological elements of these tumors, except teratoma. These miRs have been demonstrated to be informative liquid biopsy-based molecular biomarkers for both primary diagnosis as well as clinical follow-up of patients. The project aims to further elucidate the mechanism and relevance of the embryonic status of these tumors in their clinical behavior, with the goal to perform optimal primary diagnosis, including prediction of treatment response.




Tasks and responsibilities

We look for a creative, enthusiastic and skilled candidate. You will be active in a newly established research group at the Maxima Center (although the original group started in 1989) in collaboration with various team members (PhD-student, technician and university students). The activities will include both cellular, molecular as well as bioinformatical approaches, on established cell lines, as well as primary in vitro culture models (including organoids). The contract has the possibility to be continued as a permanent position.




Skills and education

For this project, the candidate:

  • Has a PhD in biomedical science, computational biology or equivalent and interest in developmental biological mechanisms.
  • Experience and interest to further develop bioinformatic know how.
  • Has an accurate, creative and efficient work ethos.
  • Enthusiastic team-player with strong communication skills.
  • Bridge builder in a stimulatory scientific environment with many different research groups.


Werken bij het Prinses Máxima Centrum

Working at the Princess Maxima Center for pediatric Oncology

We offer a full-time position based on 36 hours per week. You will start on a temporary position for the duration of one year that—when satisfactory—will be extended for a total of 4 years. Salary is based on postdoc salary scales depending on years of experience. The Princess Máxima Center operates according to the collective labor agreement ‘cao algemene ziekenhuizen’.

Ben je enthousiast geworden voor deze functie?

Apply for this position?

You can apply for this position until the  31st of january by pressing the apply button on this screen


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

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