PhD candidate

Village in a dish technology; advanced iPS technologies and single cell readout parameters to unravel the influence of genetics| 1,0 fte

About this position

Every person is unique and so understanding how to optimally treat or prevent disease requires personalized cell culture models in order to disentangle genetic and environmental factors that determine an individual’s disease risk and treatment response. The arrival of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has made this exciting new approach possible. However, iPSC studies are usually done on small numbers of donors. In order to apply iPSC cultures in the clinic, we need to examine large numbers of individuals in an efficient way. In the collaborative and multidisciplinary “Convergence in a dish” project that combines expertise from TU-Delft, Erasmus MC and Erasmus University, we aim to build a large-scale individualized cell culture platform (iCELL) where iPSCs from many individuals are co-cultured under controlled environmental conditions. Your role will be to combine advanced iPS technologies (“village on a dish”) and single cell readout parameters to unravel the influence of genetics in cellular pathways involved in disease progression. The candidate will work together with experts in stem cell differentiation, iPS culturing and bioinformatics from the department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, and Molecular Genetics, with the support of the iPS core facility at the Erasmus MC.


We seek a PhD candidate with a strong affinity for research in the field of molecular biology, cell biology, bioinformatics and genetics. We are looking for a creative candidate with a and genuine interest in fundamental research, who is keen to work in an international and interdisciplinary team. Applicants must:

• hold a Master’s degree, or approach its completion, in biology, biotechnology, molecular biology, bioinformatics or a closely related discipline;

• have research experience in cell culture, cellular/molecular technologies, and/or bioinformatics;

• have an English level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis;

• thrive in an international, multidisciplinary and highly collaborative environment.

About this Flagship

Every person is unique and therefore we observe large differences between individuals in disease risk, treatment response and other human phenotypes. This diversity originates from an interplay between genetic and environmental variations. Optimal disease treatment or prevention for each individual requires a better understanding of the complex biology behind this interplay. Human disease modelling has been revolutionized by the arrival of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which enables the generation of cellular and tissue models for each individual. Most iPSC studies have been conducted on a small number of donors (<10), but recent technical developments provide unique opportunities for large-scale applications (hundreds to thousands).

Our Flagship “Convergence in a dish” proposes to build a novel platform to develop, test and apply large-scale Individualized CELLular models (iCELL) across the normal population, to capture and understand (genetic) diversity between individuals in complex diseases, such as neurodegenerative disease, osteoarthritis and cancer.

Flagship Convergence in a dish

What we offer

You will be appointed as a PhD student with Prof. Joyce van Meurs (promoter), expert in population genetics of Osteoartrithis at Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam. For the practical parts, you will co-supervised by Dr. Roberto Narcisi (Department of Orthopaedics and Sport Medicine), Joris Pothof & Miao-Ping Chien (Department of Molecular Genetics). The departments provide access to state of the art facilities including microscopy, biochemestry, molecular/cell biology, proteomics, genomics and iPS core facility.

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment. However after 6 months there will be an official go/no go progress assessment. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2631 (bruto) per month in the first year to € 3336 (bruto) in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the department of both Orthopaedic Sports Medicine and Molecular Genetics of the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam.

About Convergence

The pressing and complex social challenges of our time call for convergence; crossing boundaries between institutions and disciplines to create new perspectives and solutions. For this reason TU Delft, Erasmus MC and Erasmus University Rotterdam are joining forces in Convergence. Within the convergence theme Health & Technology we form new frameworks that promote scientific discoveries and technological innovation in health and healthcare. We do this by working on groundbreaking research and innovation bundled in 10 international leading research flagships.

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Additional information

For more information about this position please contact:

Dr. Roberto Narcisi via

Apply for this position

Please send your application for this position, together with your motivation letter, curriculum vitae, grades list of your master degree and one reference before December 15th 2022 to