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PhD candidates 'How does a neuronal transcription factor cause acute leukemia in infants?'

4 years


Changes in gene expression are key to the development of acute myeloid leukemia. By analyzing patient cell derived transcriptome and gene enhancer data using sophisticated bioinformatic algorithms, we have identified a neuronal transcription factor (HMX3) to be essential for a subtype of acute leukemia that frequently occurs in infants (Biorxiv). Do you want to take this research further? Apply now!

In two intertwined PhD projects, we will study how this transcription factor affects chromatin biology and transcription to deregulate cell behavior. Transcriptomic and proteomic approaches will be used to understand which proteins are hijacked by HMX3 to deregulate epigenetic modifications and gene expression programs. In addition, a drug repurposing screen will be executed to determine whether known drugs exist that inhibit HMX3.

State-of-the-art models (genetically engineered blood stem cells and primary patient cells), and techniques (CRISPR gene editing, ATAC-, ChIP-, RNA-seq and label-free quantitative mass spec) will be used with the goal to gain a better insight in disease pathogenesis and to identify new rationally defined therapeutic targets.

The two PhD projects will be executed in the framework of a longlasting collaboration between the Martens (Department of Molecular Biology, Radboud University) and the Van der Reijden labs (Laboratory of Hematology, Radboud University Medical Center).You and the other PhD candidate will work in a team with clinicians, bioinformaticians and molecular biologists.

One PhD candidate will execute most of his/her work in the Department of Molecular Biology, Radboud University (supervised by dr. Martens). The other PhD candidate will will execute most of the work in the Department of Laboratory Medicine, Radboudumc (supervised by dr. Van der Reijden).


We are looking for PhD candidates that have a strong passion in the field of transcriptional regulation, chromatin biology, molecular biology and bioinformatics in blood cancer development. A master's in biomedical / molecular life sciences or a comparable master's and affinity with bioinformatics are prerequisites to succesfully execute the projects.


The Laboratory of Hematology from the Department Laboratory Medicine
The Laboratory of Hematology consists of 3 research groups and expertise hematology diagnostics units: Cell Therapy & Immune Therapy, Molecular Hematology and Thrombosis & Hemostasis. The Laboratory of Hematology is embedded in the Radboudumc research theme "Treatment improvements for severe hematological diseases" and embedded in the Radboud Institute for Medical Innovation. Research focuses on the molecular mechanisms that underlie blood cell disorders and the development of strategies to boost anti-tumor immunity in patients with hematological malignancies. In close collaboration with the clinical Department of Hematology we translate and implement our research developments into innovative diagnostic tests and patient care.

The Department of Molecular Biology
This project will be executed in close collaboration with the Department of Molecular Biology of the Radboud University Nijmegen. The Department of Molecular Biology is embedded in the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences. The department aims to unravel regulatory networks in the context of health and disease, using novel sequencing and proteomic approaches. We offer a first class international research environment in regulation of gene expression and epigenetics using state-of-the-art genomic and proteomic technologies and bioinformatics. We run Next-Generation Sequencers, single cell equipment, Mass Spectrometers and accommodate a bioinformatics team and a local computational infrastructure.

The Laboratory of Hematology from the Department Laboratory Medicine and the Department of Molecular Biology are embedded in the Radboudumc Research theme 'Treatment Improvement for Severe Hematological Diseases'.

Welcome to Radboud university medical center (Radboudumc), where scientific breakthroughs are born through the curiosity and passion of our collaborating researchers in a vibrant environment. We believe trust and excitement are crucial elements to achieving our goals, and we approach our research as teams and with the utmost rigor to make a significant impact on health and healthcare. Our researchers are driven by their fascination with the biological, psychological, and sociological mechanisms underlying health and healthcare. They collaborate with partners from all over the world to improve health outcomes for all. Radboudumc unites patient care, research, education, and corporate learning, which allows us to approach our mission to shape the health and healthcare of the future in an innovative and person-centered way.

Our ambition is to lead the way in the pursuit of prevention, sustainability, meaningful care. We believe that through our research, we can significantly improve the health and well-being of society. Join us on our mission to make a difference in healthcare. Become a part of our community of gifted researchers, professionals or patient partners who are dedicated to making a real impact on population health and healthcare. 

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


At Radboud university medical center, you build on your future. We are committed to providing the best care, education, and research. And we are true to our word, because we help you develop and seize opportunities and give you the room to grow. As an employer, we believe that employees should feel vital and happy at work in all stages of life. We are also committed to creating a healthy and safe working environment. Our employment conditions contribute to that. What we offer: 
  • Upon commencement of employment, you will start at scale 10A, step 0 (€ 3.017 based on a full-time appointment). Over a maximum period of 4 years, you will progress to scale 10A, step 3 (€3.824 based on a full-time appointment). You will also receive an 8% vacation allowance, an 8.3% end-of-year bonus, and, depending on the position, an allowance of 47% to 72% for working irregular hours.
  • Plenty of opportunities to develop yourself. For example, you can follow various courses via our online learning environment. A lot of attention will also be paid to your wellbeing and vitality. For instance, you can take advantage of:
    • 40% discount on gym membership at the Radboud Sports Center.
    • the Company Support Team and a personal coach if you experience a life-changing event.
    • a financially favorable option to work less through a generation scheme if you are approaching state retirement age.
    • support with achieving a good work-life balance at every stage of your life. This includes advice and training (from ‘Millennial Dilemmas’ to ‘Your Career After 57’), activities at our own mindfulness center, and informal caregiving consultations if you have any questions about combining your work and caregiving tasks at home.
  • 168 vacation hours per year based on a 36-hour working week. Want more vacation? You can buy additional vacation hours with your end-of-year bonus.
  • 26 weeks of parental leave, of which 9 weeks are paid.
  • Extra-favorable leave conditions. For example, our short-term caregiving leave is not 2 but 4 weeks per year and even 12 weeks per year for partner and child.
  • Pension accrual with the ABP Pension Fund. Radboud university medical center pays 70% of the pension contribution.
  • Discount on the supplementary packages of two collective health insurance policies and on ten other types of insurance, from home insurance to legal assistance.
  • travel allowance via our Employment Conditions Selection Model and a working-from-home allowance of €2 per day.

Opmerkingen en contactinformatie

Any questions? Or wondering what it is like to work at Radboudumc / Radboud University? Then send an email to dr. Joost Martens, associate professor Molecular Biology. Use the Apply button to submit your application.