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PhD student position to study telomere 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.

In this project we seek to achieve an increased mechanistic understanding of telomere maintenance in pediatric cancers, in particular via the alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) mechanism. Recent discoveries indicate that ALT is activated by defective DNA replication fork dynamics, which result in DNA breaks and increased recombination at telomeres. Given that ALT has a major impact on the survival of a considerable portion of pediatric cancers, and is not used by normal non-cancerous cells, it represents an attractive target for cancer treatment. However, the lack of comprehensive mechanistic understanding of ALT hampers therapeutic progress related to ALT. Therefore, in this multidisciplinary project, funded by the Children Cancer Free Foundation KIKA, we aim to increase understanding of the factors and molecular mechanisms that control ALT. For this we will follow-up on recent unpublished findings from our lab, that implicate new factors in the regulation of ALT. In addition, we will investigate how ALT regulation by these factors can be exploited in treatment of ALT-positive pediatric cancers.

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 portal (

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: Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Hospitals
Mylene van der Velden

Mylene van der Velden

Jacqueline  Jacobs

Jacqueline Jacobs

Group leader

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