Musculoskeletal Tissue Regeneration

ESR project


Title of Project

Promoting and Directing Reossification in Spinal Metastases

We offer

A 4-year PhD student position in the interdisciplinary area of regenerative medicine. Your project will focus on the possibilities of targeted reossification/remineralization of lytic lesions caused by metastatic spinal disease.

We ask

You hold a Master’s degree in biomedical science, medicine or in a related area. You have affinity with clinical problems and the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms, even if they are not fully elucidated yet, and thrive in a multidisciplinary research environment. Experience with oncological/radiotherapeutical/surgical concepts are of benefit for this project.


The Departments of Orthopedic Surgery and Radiotherapy at the University Medical Center Utrecht will provide a base for this project although many other partners from within the RMCU will, at some point, probably be involved in unraveling the mechanisms of reossification in spinal metastases, thereb providing the researcher with a unique multidisciplinary working environment.


Metastatic spinal disease is increasingly affecting the ageing population due to improvements in systemic treatments and, as a result, survival of patients with advanced (widespread) cancer. Spinal metastases can gravely affect a patient’s quality of life if skeletal related events (SREs) due to ongoing breakdown of bone occur. Empirical clinical data have shown low-dose hyperfractionated applications of radiotherapy to frequently lead to regeneration of bone mineralization (‘reossification’) in bone metastases from a variety of histological locations (the ‘primary’ lesion). A better understanding of this phenomenon may lead to utilization of targeted radiotherapy strategies to induce formation of new bone in lytic lesions throughout the skeleton minimizing the need for high-demand surgical interventions. In this project the underlying mechanisms of reversing bone loss induced by (spinal) metastases will be studied and subsequently used for therapeutic purposes.


  • You have a Master in Medicine or Biomedical Science (or equal)
  • You have affinity with clinical problems and unraveling underlying etiological mechanisms
  • You are a creative and independent thinker yet love working in a multidisciplinary (clinical) team. Experience with clinical databases are of benefit as are basic laboratory skills.

Contact person & more information

Dr.J. Verlaan, UMC Utrecht


This project is part of RESCUE, a multidisciplinary, intersectoral and interdisciplinary PhD training programme in Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cells organised by UMC Utrecht (coordinator) and Utrecht University. RESCUE is partly funded by the European Commission under Horizon 2020's Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND scheme. There are specific requirements with regards to English language and mobility for candidates who would like to take part in this programme. More information