For the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery, we are looking for a


  • 1.0 fte
  • Closingdate: March 15th 2021


It has been estimated that 11-26 million people of the European population suffer from food allergies. The majority of food allergies are caused by proteins from cow’s milk, peanut, and shellfish. In the most severe cases, food allergies can result in systemic allergic responses, which is also known as anaphylaxis that is life-threatening. Oral tolerance is an emerging approach to reduce the burden of disease, but approaches need to be developed for allergen exposure that can induce tolerogenic responses. In this programme, we will develop a new approach for inducing oral tolerance to food proteins by modification with tolerogenic glycans. A consortium of academic (UU), clinical (UMCU), and industrial Researchers (Danone & Enzitag) will develop a new approach to induce oral tolerance by controlled attachment of immune-modulatory glycans to several allergenic food proteins derived from cow’s milk and peanut. The resulting protein-glycan and peptide-glycan conjugates will be used in systematic studies to determine tolerogenic properties by examining antigen-presentation routes and subsequent immunological responses. Compounds of interest will be further tested for their tolerogenic capacity by ex vivo approaches using immune cells from allergic subjects. It is the expectation that this programme will provide new concepts and lead compounds for the prevention and/or management of food allergies.

For this project, we seek a highly motivated immunologist to develop and perform cell-based assays to establish the influence of glycan modifications of allergenic peptides and proteins on the interplay between DCs and T-cells using a variety of experimental approaches including cytokine release and phenotypic characterization of immune cells, and the capacity of modified protein/peptides to induce a tolerogenic allergen-specific T-cell response using cells from healthy donors.


We are looking for a candidate who meets the following requirements:

  • a completed PhD in immunology;
  • experience with DC and T-cell biology;
  • phenotypic characterization immune cells e.g.;
  • FACS analyses, ELISA and Luminex assays;
  • good level of spoken and written English language skills.

We offer

  • location: Utrecht University Campus, Utrecht, the Netherlands;
  • a position for 4 years. We would like to fill this position as soon as possible;
  • a full-time gross salary ranging from €2,790 to €4,402 in scale 10;
  • benefits including 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions  externe linkbased on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (cao).

In addition to the employment conditions laid down in the cao for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. For example, there are agreements on professional development, leave arrangements, and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment yourself via the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we like to encourage you to continue to grow.

More information about working at the Faculty of Science can be found here.

About the organization

The research will be performed at the Utrecht Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UIPS) and secondments at Danone Research and Innovation which is also located at the Utrecht University Campus.


At the Faculty of Science here are 6 departments to make a fundamental connection with: Biology, Chemistry, Information and Computing Sciences, Mathematics, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Physics. Each of these is made up of distinct institutes that work together to focus on answering some of humanity’s most pressing problems. More fundamental still are the individual research groups – the building blocks of our ambitious scientific projects.


Utrecht University is a friendly and ambitious university at the heart of an ancient city. We love to welcome new scientists to our city – a thriving cultural hub that is consistently rated as one of the world’s happiest cities. We are renowned for our innovative interdisciplinary research and our emphasis on inspirational research and excellent education. We are equally well-known for our familiar atmosphere and the can-do mentality of our people. This lively and inspiring academic environment attracts professors, researchers, and PhD candidates from all over the globe, making both the University and the Faculty of Science a vibrant international and wonderfully diverse community.

More information

If you have any questions, please contact Professor Geert-Jan Boons ( or Dr Machteld Tiemessen (

Do you have a question about the application procedure? Please send an email to


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. If you have the expertise and the experience to excel in this role, then simply respond via the below link! Please enclose:

  • your letter of motivation;
  • your curriculum vitae;
  • the names, telephone numbers, and email addresses of at least two references;
  • a copy of your PhD degree, or a letter from your university stating when your degree will be issued.

If this specific opportunity isn’t for you, but you know someone who may be interested, please forward this vacancy to them.

Closingdate: March 15th 2021

Please note: Due to the current situation regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) the process of selection and interviews is subject to change. Initial interviews will most likely be conducted online.

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Key words: Vacancy, Research, PhD, Immunology, Celbiology, Utrecht