Postdoctoral position in single cell analysis of cell differentiation in vivo (1.0 FTE)

Hours per week: 
38 to 40
Faculty of Science
Department of Biology, Developmental Biology
Application deadline: 

Job description

The Van den Heuvel lab invites applications for a postdoctoral research position in Developmental Biology. The focus of the project will be to reveal the regulatory logic of cellular decision making in the context of animal development. Specifically, we seek to better understand how precursor cells commit to a specialized cellular fate, and how this is coordinated with a permanent arrest of cell division. To address these questions, we will perform detailed quantitative analyses of native cells during their differentiation trajectory in the round worm Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), in combination with sophisticated genetic manipulation. This project will incorporate the latest technologies in transcriptome, epigenome, and proteome analysis, and will be carried out in close collaboration with specialists in computational modeling (Ten Tusscher lab, Utrecht University), single-cell analysis (Korswagen and Van Oudenaarden labs, Hubrecht Institute), and proteomics techniques (Vermeulen lab, Radboud University Nijmegen).

As a postdoctoral Researcher you will become part of the highly interactive Developmental Biology community at Utrecht University. This will include daily interactions with fellow Researchers in the Van den Heuvel, Boxem and Ruijtenberg labs, with graduate students and Postdocs, who work on related topics with one of the consortium partners, and with other Researchers within the Institute of Biodynamics and Biocomplexity (e.g., Akhmanova, Kapitein, Baubec labs) or the broader Utrecht University campus.


 We are looking for a curious and ambitious junior scientist who:

  • holds a PhD degree in biology, biomedical sciences or a related field;
  • has a strong interest in molecular biology;
  • has previous experience with independent research, and preferably worked with genetic model organisms, advanced microscopy, and/or bioinformatic data analysis;
  • has been trained in scientific writing, communication and presentation in English;
  • has the motivation to work in an ambitious, multidisciplinary and international research team.


  • a full-time position for two years;
  • embedding in a great team of top Life Sciences Researchers;
  • depending on previous qualifications and experience, a gross salary ranging between €2,836 and €5,211 per month (scale 10/11 of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities) for a full-time employment;
  • 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

Research in the Developmental Biology Division makes use of a multidisciplinary strategy in genetic animal model systems (C. elegans, zebrafish, organoids) to acquire a deeper fundamental understanding of the processes that determine development and health. Three teams that use the C. elegans model work closely together and share experience in C. elegans genetics and biology, as well as technologies (latest CRISPR knock-in/knockout strategies, live imaging, super-resolution microscopy) on a daily basis. In addition, there are frequent interactions and joint lab meetings with the neighbouring labs (Cell Biology, Neurobiology, Biophysics), the nearby Theoretical Biology and Bioinformatics groups. These groups and a newly started Genome Biology & Epigenetics group form part of the Institute of Biodynamics and Biocomplexity  (IBB).

Research within the department of Biology is organized in two institutes: the Institute of Biodynamics and Biocomplexity (IBB) and the Institute of Environmental Biology (IEB). The Department of Biology coordinates the teaching of the Bachelor’s programme in Biology, as well as the Master’s programmes and PhD courses that are offered by the Graduate School of Life Sciences.

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 them 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. Find out more about us

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 about this position, please contact Sander van den Heuvel, via

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 experience to excel in this role, please respond via the “Apply” button!
Please enclose:

  • a one-page cover letter describing the reasons behind your interest in the position;
  • a curriculum vitae;
  • name, telephone number, and email address of three references.

Promising candidates will be invited to an interview. As part of the selection procedure, the candidate will be expected to give a short presentation about his/her previous research.

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

The application deadline is 31 October. The position will be available immediately after acceptance.

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.

Some connections are fundamental – Be one of them

The application deadline is 31 October 2021.