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ESR1 Characterisation of B-cells and autoantibodies in rheumatic diseases (LUMC)

In several rheumatic diseases, and in particular Rheumatoid Arthritis, B-cells and auto-antibodies are pivotal players in disease pathogenesis as evidenced by the efficacy of B-cell depleting therapies. In the context of this project we aim to delineate the “switches and checkpoints” involved in the activation and resolution of autoreactive B-cell- and antibody responses. We are, therefore, looking for a PhD-student who is acquainted with antibody- and/or B-cell technologies. The PhD-student is responsible for planning, performing and analysing the outcome of experiments as well as reporting and publishing the results. The project comprises of cellular immunological methods, antibody chemistry and glycomics. The analysis of patient-derived sample materials will allow the student to obtain broad knowledge not only in immunology but also in analytical chemistry and biochemistry with a special focus on arthritis.

The department

This research will be performed at the department of Rheumatology of the Leiden University Medical Center under the supervision of Prof Dr Rene Toes. In addition, this project is embedded in a comprehensive program of courses and exchange visits between the partner institutions. Part of the training will be carried out with our partners from Leuven, Tubingen and Glasgow. The PhD-student will become part of the Graduate school of the LUMC (

Your profile

You have a Master degree in biomedical sciences, preferably with experience in cellular immunology and/or B-cell/antibody biology. Practical experience with cell culture would be an asset. Additional experiences with molecular cell biology tools (Western Blot and qPCR or metabolomics) will be considered an advantage. You are a highly motivated independent team player with a flexible work approach and the ability to work effectively within a multidisciplinary team. English language skills are essential for communication within the team and the consortium, but also for scientific presentations and publications. PhD students involved in this project will make short-term exchange visits with the institutes of the other partners.


What we offer

You will be employed on the basis of a 36-hour week. Appointment is for a maximum of four years, to be completed with a doctoral thesis. Your salary is € 2.422 gross per month in the first year, amounting to € 3.103 in the fourth year (scale PhD students, CAO-UMC).

LUMC can offer you highly favourable terms and conditions of employment. For example, you will receive an 8% holiday remuneration, a year-end bonus, a pension scheme with the General Pension Fund for Public Employees (ABP), and, if applicable, a bonus for irregular hours. In addition, you will have the opportunity to join the collective health insurance scheme for University Hospitals. LUMC offers excellent facilities for education and training, child-care centres, and career advice. In addition, you will benefit from various leave arrangements and other extras. You can read more about these facilities elsewhere on this site.


More information

For more information and details about the project, please go to the ArthritisHeal website ( If you have specific questions please contact Prof Dr Rene Toes, Dept. of Rheumatology, LUMC, telephone +31 71 526 3598, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Application procedure