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PhD student position to study genome stability maintenance in the research group of Jacqueline Jacobs

Function description

The research group of Jacqueline Jacobs at the division of Oncogenomics aims to understand the processes that act to safeguard genome integrity but that, when working inappropriately, cause cells to become dysfunctional or die, or to get derailed and cancerous. More specifically, we aim to identify new factors and molecular mechanisms that are critical in telomere and genome maintenance through appropriate DNA damage responses, DNA replication, and DNA repair.

Genomic instability is a major driving force in the development of cancer, but too much genomic instability can be detrimental, also for the survival and proliferation of cancer cells. Hence, aggressive tumours develop ways to limit the degree and unwanted consequences of ongoing genomic instability. In this project, funded by the Dutch Cancer Society KWF, we aim to increase our understanding of the mechanisms that operate to maintain genome stability. We focus on the heterochromatin factor KAP1 that plays a role in multiple key aspects of genome stability maintenance. Work from us and others has revealed that KAP1 plays an important role in telomere protection, gene repression and DNA repair. How one protein can control such seemingly different processes is of significant interest as many cancers overexpress KAP1 to promote a tumorigenic phenotype. By following-up on recent findings from our group we will aim to increase our understanding of how KAP1 contributes to genome stability maintenance. We will study how KAP1 activity is controlled by characterizing novel regulators of KAP1 that we recently identified in genetic screens. Moreover, we will study how cancer cells benefit from KAP1 overexpression and how this overexpression of KAP1 in many cancers may potentially be exploited therapeutically. 

Job requirements

We are looking for an ambitious and enthusiastic PhD candidate with a strong commitment to science and solid background in molecular biology and cell biology. The candidate should be creative, highly self-motivated, capable of independent thinking, have a problem-solving attitude and be a very good experimentalist. Good communication skills (oral and written) and ability to work together with others in an international team are essential. Previous experience in the fields of telomere maintenance, DNA replication and/or DNA damage and repair, would be advantageous, but are not an absolute must.

Scientific environment
Located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) is an internationally renowned institute dedicated to fundamental, translational and clinical cancer research. It is the only comprehensive cancer center in The Netherlands, with the cancer-specialized Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (AVL) hospital under the same roof with the NKI. The NKI is a dynamic institute with a highly interactive and collaborative atmosphere and accommodating over 50 research groups and many excellent facilities, including for microscopy, flow cytometry, genomics, proteomics and many more. The Jacobs laboratory on Telomere and Genome stability is part of the Division of Oncogenomics with multiple groups of complementary expertise.


We offer a stimulating and interactive research environment, free use of all state-of-the-art facilities, a competitive salary. The gross salary per month can range from € 3.523,- to € 4.277,- (salary PhD scale, according to the Collective Labour Agreement General Hospitals), depending on your experience. In addition, you will receive 8,33% holiday pay and end-of-year bonus (8,33%). The appointment is for a period of four years. You will participate in the educational program of the Oncology Graduate School Amsterdam (OOA) that offers high-quality courses.

Your travel expenses will be reimbursed at € 0,19 per km. Free parking at the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek is also part of the package. Personnel is stimulated to use public transport and bicycle and therefore we offer an interesting arrangement for bikers and/or discount on the NS-business card. 
How to apply
For further information visit our website ( or contact Jacqueline Jacobs ( Applications should include your CV, a motivation letter, your transcripts and contact information of at least 2 references, and can be submitted via the 'Interested' or 'Apply now' button at the bottom of the page.

The NKI values diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive work environment that stimulates the best in each individual. Applications of all individuals are welcomed regardless of age, ancestry, religion, disability, distance from the labor market, sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • Hours per week: 36
  • Salary level: Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Hospitals


  • Hours per week: 36
  • Salary level: PhD-scale
Mylene van der Velden

Mylene van der Velden

Jacqueline  Jacobs

Jacqueline Jacobs

Group leader

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