Postdoc position in nanobody-based immunotherapy of cancer (1.0 FTE)

Hours per week: 
36 to 40
Faculty of Science
Department of Biology, Cell Biology
Application deadline: 

Job description

Despite recent improvements in immunotherapy, cancer still is a major threat to humans in western societies. To further improve the immunotherapy of cancer we have started a collaboration with the pharmaceutical company Apo-T. This therapy is based on the application of nanobodies: antibody fragments obtained from Llama’s. The project aims to generate nanobodies binding to tumor specific markers, which are presented on the surface of cancer cells as complexes of peptides bound to MHC-I proteins.

Within the project, nanobodies will be developed binding to peptide/MHC-complexes. Peptides are derived from MAGE-A, which is an intracellular biomarker for the early events of oncogenic transformation, tumor invasion and metastasis. As the Postdoc Researcher you will, together with a technician, fully characterize the obtained nanobodies using structural and cell biology methods. In addition, you will investigate the application of the novel nanobodies to specifically kill cancer cells. Different approaches will be evaluated: nanobody-drug conjugates, bispecific T-cell engagers (BITE) and/or CAR-T cells.


To excel in this role you enjoy being part of a driven multidisciplinary team. Furthermore, you are a motivated Postdoctoral Researcher with interest in the further applications of nanobodies in immunotherapy of cancer and you have:

  • a PhD in molecular and cell biology;
  • experience in structural biology, and immunology;
  • experience with protein chemistry and phage display (considered an advantage);
  • excellent verbal and written communication skills in English.


  • a position for at least 1 year;
  • a full-time gross salary ranging from €2,709 to €4,274 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 (based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities). 

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 organisation

The Division of Cell biology, Neurobiology and Biophysics at the Department of Biology aims to decipher the cellular basis for human diseases such as cancer and neurological disorders. To achieve this, the latest methods and technologies in molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, and microscopy are combined. In addition, the nanobody technology has been explored for fundamental as well as applied research questions.

The Department of Biology coordinates the teaching of the Bachelor’s programme in Biology and also several Master’s programmes that are offered through the Graduate Schools of Life Sciences and of Natural Sciences. The Department also houses a large number of research chairs. Research in the Department falls under aegis of the Institute of Environmental Biology (IEB) and the Institute for Biodynamics and Biocomplexity (IBB).

At the Faculty of Science there 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 which 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 attitude of our people. This fundamental connection attracts Researchers, Professors and PhD candidates from all over the globe, making both the University and the Faculty of Science a vibrant international and wonderfully diverse community.

Additional information

If you have any questions, please contact Dr Paul van Bergen en Henegouwen (Associate Professor Cell Biology) via Please do not send your application to this email address, but use the online application portal.

Questions about the application procedure? 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, please respond via the “Apply” button!

Please enclose:

  • a letter of motivation;
  • a curriculum vitae;
  • the names, telephone numbers, and email addresses of at least two references.

Job interviews will be held in the first week of July 2020. Start of the appointment is flexible, but preferably no later than September 2020. 

If this specific opportunity is not for you, but you know someone who may be interested, please forward the link to them.

Please note: Due to the current situation regarding the Corona virus (COVID-19) the process of selection and interviews is subject to change.

Some connections are fundamental – Be one of them

The application deadline is 15 June 2020.