PhD student Particle Toxicology

About the function

Do nanoparticles (NPs) affect developmental processes? Which interactions and modes of actions occur? It is undeniable that NPs are everywhere. They fragment from larger products in the environment or are intentionally designed in consumer products. As such, NPs are present in the products we daily use (toothpaste, scrubs), in our food (honey, fish), drinking water and in the air we breathe. To date, we lack proper hazard and risk assessment of NPs for developmental tissues. There is need for more and in-depth fundamental knowledge to understand potential modes of toxicity of MNPs in properly designed human model systems.
In this doctoral dissertation, you will explore the relationship between NP properties such as surface, shape and size and their underlying modes of action. You will specifically focus on cell cycle- related effects. To properly link particle characteristics with kinetic uptake profiles and dynamic cellular events, you will work with an in vitro set- up using human mesenchymal stem cells. Causal relations and sequences of events will be investigated further using state-of-the-art imaging techniques and functional interfering. Such a detailed understanding of NP toxicity is a necessary first step in function of future risk assessment strategies, f.e. as a part of properly defined adverse outcome pathways. 

As a PhDstudent you will conduct research, write and publish scientific articles, participate in (inter)national conferences with the aim of writing a PhD dissertation.

You will be part of a dynamic interdisciplinary research team with a broad national and international network. You will participate in the doctoral school of Sciences & Technology. Furthermore, you will be assigned limited teaching duties in the department of Biology.

About us

Your research will be conducted in the research group Zoology: Biodiversity and Toxicology (department Biology ) and CMK, a multidisciplinary research institute in the domein of environmental sciences.

About you

  • You have a master's degree in biology, biomedical sciences, bio-engineering, biotechnology, biochemistry, medicine (or equivalent)
    Final-year students are (likewise) encouraged to apply.
  • Experience in particle toxicology is recommended.
  • Experience with particle characterization, cell cultures, molecular biological, organoid- or stem cell -techniques is recommended.
  • You have problem solving ability.
  • You have research interest.
  • You are fluent in written and oral communication, in Dutch and English.
  • You can work both in a team and independently.

Our offer

You will be appointed and paid as PhD student.
You will be appointed 2x2 years (after positive evaluation).

Apply for this position

The selection procedure consists of a preselection based on application file and an interview.

Apply now
Apply up to 14.12.2022

Question about this vacancy?

For substantive questions, send an e-mail to For questions about the selection procedure, please email

Prof. dr. Karen SMEETS