PhD candidate ‘Counterattacking melanoma at immune-privileged sites’

  • 36 hours per week
  • 4 years
  • Schaal 10A – min € 2495 – max € 3196 gross per month at full employment
  • Deadline: 28 April 2021
  • Date first interview: 1st week of May

Job description

During this PhD project you will study the immune landscape of both uveal melanoma and cutaneous brain metastases with highly innovative technologies from the fields of genomics, immunology and pathology.

Insight in the presence and functionality of immune cells in the tumor microenvironment is essential in understanding responses, and lack thereof, to cancer immunotherapy. One of the cancer types at the forefront of cancer immunotherapy is melanoma, a malignancy originating from melanocytes, typically in the skin. High response rates are seen with immune checkpoint inhibitors, i.e. anti-PD1 antibodies and anti-CTLA4 antibodies. However, melanoma can also originate from melanocytes in the eye or spread to the brain, both immune privileged sites. Responses to immune checkpoint inhibition in these patients are poor.

In this research project both stored and fresh tumor tissue will be analysed by you to find ways to overcome to immunotherapy. Successful targeting of mechanisms detrimental to the antitumor immune response at immune privileged sites could pave the way for the clinical development of more effective immunotherapeutic strategies for patients with uveal melanoma or cutaneous melanoma metastases in the brain.

Your tasks and responsibilities:

  • Process patient material/tissue for cell culture and other analysis.
  • Initiate clinical trials (to obtain fresh tumor tissue, blood, etc).
  • Acquire knowledge of diverse laboratory techniques, such as flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry and gene expression data acquisition.
  • Actively participate in multidisciplinary scientific meetings (labmeetings).


We are looking for a motivated researcher who wants to focus on the improvement of immunotherapy in patients with melanoma. You have a master degree in biomedical sciences/biology/biochemistry or equivalent with special interest in translational research OR you have a master degree in medicine with interest and experience in the laboratory.

Some experience with immunological, cell biological and/or molecular biology techniques is an advantage. You will work with patient material, provide support in the logistics of the sample acquisition, and ultimately perform translational research in a highly motivated team of researchers.

We are looking for a PhD candidate that is/has:

  • Ambitious.
  • A strong team player.
  • Strong analytical skills.
  • A high level of proficiency in English.
  • Able to work both independently and in a team.
  • A strong interest in translational research.

Terms of employment

Working at Radboud university medical center means that you are ahead of the curve and working together on the healthcare of the future. But there is more. Our secondary terms of employment are impressive. These are fully tailored to you thanks to our Employment Conditions Selection Model. At Radboud university medical center, you will be given trust, and you will take the responsibility to handle everything together. We provide annual courses, both professional and personal.

  • In addition to your monthly salary and an annual vacation allowance of 8%, you will receive an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%.
  • As a full-time employee, you are entitled to approximately 168 vacation hours (over 23 days) per year.
  • Radboud university medical center pays 70% of the pension premium. You pay the rest of the premium with your gross salary.
  • You get a discount on health insurance as well: you can take advantage of two group health insurance plans. UMC Zorgverzekering and CZ collectief.

In addition to our terms of employment, we also offer employees various other attractive facilities, such as childcare and sports facilities. Want to learn more? Take a look at the Cao UMC.


The Department of Medical Oncology is part of the Radboudumc Center for Oncology. We place emphasis on working in multidisciplinary teams to improve both patient care as well as research. The nursing department, day care and outpatient clinic are all integrated to guarantee a well streamlined process in the treatment for our patients.

Embedded in our academic patient care are early stage clinical trials, and translational research regarding pharmacology, pathology, genetics, radiology, nuclear medicine and tumour immunology. We have a close relation with the department of Tumor Immunology focussing on translational research, including different clinical trials of dendritic cell immunotherapy in cancer patients. The department of Tumor Immunology aims at a better understanding of our immune system using molecular-, cell biological- and immunological- techniques. Our multidisciplinary department. The department of Tumor Immunology is embedded within the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (RIMLS), a leading European research school that provides an outstanding, multi-cultural and thriving research setting within the Radboudumc.

The Radboudumc aims to excel in all academic tasks and in giving the patient an important voice in the treatment team. To act together within networks and partnerships are topical issues of the Radboudumc subjects for giving shape to an optimal organization of sustainable oncology care.


Research Institutes

At the moment there are more than 1,300 PhD candidates at our medical hospital. This number includes PhD candidates on our pay roll as well as external candidates (those employed somewhere else but researching on our premises).

  • Radboud Institute for Health Sciences: ± 700
  • Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences: ± 400
  • Donders Center for Medical Neurosciences: ± 200

Read what it is like to do a PhD at the Radboud University Medical Center.



Radboud university medical center is a university medical center for patient care, scientific research, and education in Nijmegen. Radboud university medical center strives to be at the forefront of shaping the healthcare of the future. We do this in a person-centered and innovative way, and in close collaboration with our network. We want to have a significant impact on healthcare. We want to improve with each passing day, continuously working towards better healthcare, research, and education. And gaining a better understanding of how diseases arise and how we can prevent, treat, and cure them, day in and day out. This way, every patient always receives the best healthcare, now and in the future. Because that is why we do what we do.

Read more about our strategy and what working at Radboud university medical center means. Our colleagues would be happy to tell you about it. #weareradboudumc


All additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from dr. K.F. Bol. Use the below link.

The first interview round takes place in the first week of May. We would appreciate it if you would take this into account. We would like to receive your application before 28 April 2021.

What else can you expect?

When you join us, we require a certificate of conduct (Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag, VOG) and there will be, depending on the type of job, a screening based on the provided cv. You do not have to do anything for this; we will tell you more later. Read more what our International Office can do for you when moving to the Netherlands, about the application process or view our frequently asked questions.

Apply online

Recruitment agencies are asked not to respond to this job posting.

Key words: Vacancy, Research, biology, biomedical sciences, biochemistry, WO, Master, Nijmegen, Gelderland