This project aims to evaluate different fusion proteins of cytokines on their ability to prevent and/or resolve Chemotherapy-induced neuropathy in mice by modulating neuro-immune pathways and engaging neuroprotection, whilst preserving the anticancer effects of chemotherapy. You will be embedded in the research group of Eijkelkamp within the Center for Translational Immunology and collaborate with Synerkine Pharma B.V. and the research group of Kranenburg.
The project combines animal studies in mice and ex vivo/in vitro studies of neurons and tumor organoids. You will use mouse models of chemotherapy in combination with tumor models to asses effectiveness. You will also assess fusion proteins in vitro with reporter cell lines and primary cell cultures in their ability to engage and cluster different cytokine receptors, reduce chemotherapy-induced neuronal damage, and their impact on chemotherapy-induced tumor cell killing. You will identify the mechanisms of action by identifying the cells, receptors, and intracellular processes triggered by the fusion proteins using in vitro reporter systems, RNA sequencing and kinases activity assays.
We are part of the lively Center for Translational Immunology (CTI) that hosts all pain and immunological research performed in the University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU). The CTI has a broad base of experts in all aspects of (neuro)immunology: from autoimmune/inflammatory to cancer, from basic science to clinical application. The CTI and UMCU have multiple core facilities that you can use in this project, i.e. a flow cytometry core, protein production core and computational core facilities.
We invite highly motivated, independent PhD with proven interest and experience in neuro-immunology, cytokine biology, and/or cell and tumor biology to apply. In general we positively value candidates that have experience with in vivo work, protein production and purification (e.g. AKTA), flow cytometry, assays to study sensory neuron. We require that you are proficient in English. The ideal candidate has excellent communication skills and enjoys collaborative projects. Applicants should briefly explain to their interest when they apply in a brief (1 A4) motivation letter. We explicitly welcome international applicants.