PhD Student

The Drost group is looking for an enthusiastic, highly motivated PhD student with experience in molecular, cellular and/or computational biology.


Background information about the Drost group

Kidney cancers represent approximately 6% of childhood cancers. The majority are Wilms tumors, representing about 90% of cases. Survival rates of certain Wilms tumor patient subgroups have significantly increased in the past decades. The other pediatric kidney cancer subtypes (such as renal cell carcinoma and malignant rhabdoid tumors of the kidney) carry a dismal outcome profile. All this creates an urgent need for the development of new (and less toxic) therapies.

The Drost group studies the molecular mechanisms underlying the development of childhood kidney and rhabdoid tumors and aims to identify novel therapies. We develop and utilize state-of-the-art stem cell culture models, including 3D organoids, in combination with (single-cell) genomics and gene editing technologies (e.g. CRISPR) to study fundamental processes driving tumor growth. In the Drost group, we value collegiality, enthusiasm, dedication, respect and reliability, thereby creating the most optimal environment to successfully reach our goals.



How tumors adapt to changing environmental conditions and treatment is a major unsolved problem frustrating effective therapy. Rhabdoid tumors are highly aggressive pediatric tumors with a low survival rate. They occur in multiple tissues, including brain and kidney, and likely originate as a consequence of aberrant differentiation during development. This project aims to identify the cellular origin of rhabdoid tumors and study clonal dynamics during disease progression and therapy resistance using genetic lineage tracing strategies in patient material. Applied techniques will include organoid culturing, gene editing, (single-cell) sequencing technologies and analyzing next generation sequencing experiments.



  • Master or equivalent degree in biomedical sciences, molecular/cellular biology, or an equivalent thereof, and a clear interest in pre-clinical cancer research.
  • Experience and interest to further develop bioinformatic know how.
  • Integrate multiple genomics data layers ((single-cell) gene expression, epigenetic marks, mutations).
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Team membership skills within multidisciplinary research teams
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills
  • Strong commitment to a research career


The Institute

The Princess Máxima Center is a new research hospital concentrating healthcare, research and education with regard to cancer in children in a single location in Utrecht. The institute aims to provide the highest level of care for all children with cancer and has the ambition to cure all children with cancer and significantly reduce unwanted side effects. The center brings together the best possible care and scientific research, creating a unique interdisciplinary institute for pediatric oncology in Europe.


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. The Princess Máxima Center operates according to the collective labor agreement ‘cao algemene ziekenhuizen’.


Apply for this position?

You can apply for this position until the 22nd of February by pressing the apply button on this screen.

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

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