Postdoc – Targeted drug screening in pediatric cancer – Molenaar Group

The Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology is a new research hospital, which concentrates 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 of cancer and to 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.

Molenaar Group

The research group of Jan Molenaar at the Princess Maxima Center is specialized in translational research in pediatric solid tumors with a focus on Neuroblastoma. To this purpose we have developed an experimental pipeline which starts with basic molecular biologic research and ends with implementation of new treatment options for pediatric cancer patients. Crucial in this pipeline is the use of high throughput analysis including WGS, scRNAseq, compound screening etc. We are running the iTHER precision medicine program for pediatric cancer, which has included over 140 patients. This program is now expanded with systematic compound screening of in vitro patient derived organoid models. To this purpose we have started the compound screening facility in the Maxima which is currently run by 2 technicians and a postdoc.

Research project

The research project overall aims the identification and validation of new treatment options in pediatric cancer using our high throughput compound screening facility. There are 3 mayor objectives that the postdoc should coordinate in collaboration with the PI and a colleague Postdoc.

  • First; we are running the compound screening facility which has just become operational It contains a state of the art BeckmanCoulter robotics set-up including an Echo550 compound dispenser system. The facility runs many screens for different research groups in the Maxima. Two technician are trained and have dedicated time to run the machine. The postdoc should coordinate the current screens and should strive to develop new opportunities using the advanced robotics system including, co-culture systems, compound combination screens, high throughput 3D imaging and FACS analysis.
  • Secondly; the iTHER precision medicine program is proceeding to the next level, We aim to incorporate in vitro model systems to validate potential interventions, identify new interventions and identify potential combination treatment options for patients without curative options. The postdoc should work on full implementation of this research in the precision medicine program.
  • Finally, for many genomic event in pediatric cancer there are no treatment options. We will use our screening facility and CRISPR screens to identify potential interventions using isogenic systems that are available in our lab. We will combe this with compound screening results of large sets of patient derived tumor organoids. Subsequent newly identified potential interventions should be further validated in collaboration with the molecular genetic postdocs in our lab.

Education and skills

For the offered position, we are looking for a highly enthusiastic and motivated post-doc with a great interest in pharmaceutics and compound testing. You should be able to manage a medium size team of technicians and PhD students and closely collaborate with the bioinformaticians. You should like to collaborate and support other researchers and you are keen on clear communication with colleagues about research methods and results.

We offer

A temporary, full time position (36 hours a week for 3 years) as a postdoc. Your gross monthly salary will depend on experience and background with a maximum of 4.303,- (scale 60), increased with 8% 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:

You can apply for this position until August 9th by pressing the apply button on this screen.

We welcome you to contact Jan Molenaar, via
for additional information about the vacancy.

Detailed information about the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology can also be found at


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