Maternal immune activation during pregnancy – a dietary intervention to restore immune fitness in the offspring

  • 1.0 FTE

Job Description
Infections during pregnancy -and the subsequent activation of the maternal immune system- are associated with an increased risk of developing immune disorders in the child. The aim of your PhD project is to determine the effect of maternal immune activation (MIA) on early life immune fitness in the offspring, using murine models. In addition, you will test the hypothesis that a postnatal dietary intervention can protect against detrimental effects of MIA on immune fitness and allergy susceptibility. You will characterize the effect of postnatal dietary intervention on MIA-induced changes in the peripheral immune system and microbiome at an effector- and mechanistic level.

We are looking for a candidate with a Master degree in Pharmacology, Biology or Medicine, with a focus on Immunology. The perfect candidate:

  • has a strong interest in the field of immune fitness, microbiome, immune-programming (DOHaD);
  • is proficient in spoken and written English;
  • is an independent and creative team player with good communicative skills;
  • is able to work independently in a multidisciplinary environment.

Hands-on experience in experimental animal work would be an advantage. Experience with immunological techniques is a valuable asset. The candidate should have the ambition and creativity to organize and perform complex in vivo studies and have the ability to quickly learn new techniques.

We offer
The candidate is offered a full-time position for 1,5 years, which can be extended to 4 years if the candidate functions well. Salary ranges between €2,266 and €2,897 (P-scale Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) gross per month for a full-time employment. The salary is supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8,3% per year. In addition we offer: a pension scheme, a partially paid parental leave, flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities. The research group will provide the candidate with necessary support on all aspects of the project. More information is available on the website.

About the organization
A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a charming old center and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its century-old university. Utrecht city has been consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the Netherlands.

The Faculty of Science consists of six departments: Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Information and Computing Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry and Mathematics. The Faculty is home to 6,500 students and nearly 1,500 staff and is internationally renowned for the quality of its research. The Faculty’s academic programmes reflect developments in today’s society. Read the overall impression 2016 of the Faculty of Science.

Additional information
Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from Mrs. Dr. A Hogenkamp, via

As part of the selection procedure, the candidate is expected to give an outline of his/her research plans in a written report and an oral presentation.

To apply, please attach a letter of motivation, curriculum vitae and (email) addresses of two referees.

Application deadline is 15 of June 2019.

To apply, please click this link.

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Keywords: Vacancy, Research, Master, Pharmacology, Biology, Medicine, Immunology, Utrecht.