Postdoctoral fellow position - “host-pathogen interaction”: Netherlands

For the One Health – Infection & Immunity research programme of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University, we are looking for a dedicated scientist in the field of complex epithelial cell systems to study infection processes and host responses.

Most viral and bacterial infections start at respiratory or intestinal epithelial surfaces. New developments in 3D “air-liquid interface” epithelial cell systems and organoid technologies allow the in vitro study of infections and host responses under physiologically relevant conditions. Development of complex epithelial cell systems of different animal species (bovine, pig, chicken) will greatly facilitate research within our One Health – Infection & Immunity research at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Utrecht University, including Virology (headed by Prof. Frank van Kuppeveld), Bacterial Infection Biology (Prof. Jos van Putten), Clinical Infection Biology (Prof. Jaap Wagenaar), Molecular Host Defense (Prof. Henk Haagsman), Immunology (Prof. Willem van Eden), Cell Biology (Prof. Willem Stoorvogel), Intercellular Communication (Prof. Marca Wauben), and Pathobiology (Prof. Andrea Gröne). These complex cell systems allow fundamental studies to identify epithelial cell types that are infected by viruses and bacteria, the receptors that are used, the role of mucus, and the (innate) immune responses that are triggered upon infection. Such insight is essential for better understanding of whether and how pathogens can cross the species barrier, which is an important aspect of zoonotic infections. Additionally, complex cell systems may be useful for fundamental studies towards interactions of the microbiome (incl. virome) with the mucosal epithelium.

We are looking for a postdoc with experience in setting up complex epithelial cell systems and a keen interest in host-pathogen interactions and/or mucosal biology/immunology. Within this research field, the postdoc is expected to develop complex cell systems of different animal species (bovine, pig, chicken) for broad use and to set up an own research line, embedded in the One Health – Infection & Immunity research programme, using such systems. This research line should strengthen interactions between different research groups and can benefit from the expertise available within these groups. A PhD student will be installed and closely work with the postdoc on a similar or complementary topic on host-pathogen interactions at mucosal surfaces, and the postdoc is expected to (co-)supervise this PhD student.

The candidate

  • is expected to have solid experience in a relevant field, such as virology, microbiology, immunology, cell biology or a related discipline
  • experience with setting up and working with complex cell systems is expected
  • is preferably within 8 years of having obtained his/her PhD
  • should have a proven track record of productivity and excellent/outstanding communication skills (writing and verbal), and thus be sufficiently competitive to seek and secure external fellowship funding (e.g. ERC Starting/Consolidator grant or NWO-VIDI grant from the Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research)
  • is expected to demonstrate creativity, ambition, strong work ethic, critical thinking, and team skills

The candidate can benefit from the expertise on complex cell systems that is present in Utrecht University, including the Regenerative Medicine research groups at the Faculties of Veterinary Medicine and the University Medical Center, the Hubrecht Institute, and U-AIM (a recently established Utrecht Advanced In Vitro Models hub).

For more information, please contact Prof. Frank van Kuppeveld by or by phone on +3130253 41 73.

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