Careers at UMC Utrecht
Vacancy number: 2018/0845
Apply to: November 18 2018
(modified date)
Education: University
Employment: Temporary position
Full-time/Part-time percentage: 100%

CMN are composed of cells in a state of senescence induced by activation of the NRAS or BRAF oncogene. We have recently demonstrated that FOXO4 is a pivot in maintaining senescent cell viability and generated the first prospectively designed anti-senescence agent, the FOXO4-DRI peptide (Baar et al., Cell 2017). FOXO4 targeting peptides disrupt interaction of FOXO4 with p53 to cause highly effective elimination of senescent cells. Anti-senescence agents not only hold promise for prevention and treatment of aging-associated diseases, but also as a therapeutic approach for (pre)malignant lesions , such as BRAF/NRAS mutated naevi and melanoma.. The goal for this project is to examine the feasibility of therapeutic targeting of senescent naevus cells in CMN using cultured human melanocytes, human 3D naevus models and genetically engineered mouse models for CMN and melanoma. When successful, the preclinical development of a new pharmacological treatment approach for CMN would provide a major contribution to the prevention of childhood melanoma. This project is a close collaboration with the group of Dr. Remco van Doorn at of the Leiden University Medical Center (dept. of dermatology). Experimental work for this collaborative research project (molecular cell biology, tissue engineering, tumor immunology and treatment of experimental mouse models) will be performed at UMC Utrecht and Leiden University Medical Center.


Leiden University and its Medical Center is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands. Both have an excellent track record in translating fundamental findings to society, evident from an effectively operating business park. The department of Dermatology of the Leiden University Medical Center is a "Top-reference" center for skin cancers, inclusing melanoma. Remco van Doorn is a clinical dermatologist who supervises the largest pigmented lesion clinic in the Netherlands. His research is focussed on understanding the mechanisms that underlie (malignant) skin lesions and to develop methods to overcome these. Utrecht University and its Medical Center house well over 6000 researchers and consistently delivers top-notch research in biology and medicine, evident from a solid ranking among the absolute top academic centers in Europe. The UMCU is one of the leading centers for Cancer research in the Netherlands, well-renowned for its capacity to translate fundamental breakthroughs in oncology research to experimental treatment of patients. The Center for Molecular Medicine houses experts and state-of-the-art facilities for a broad range of techniques, including genomics (next-generation DNA sequencing, metabolomics, proteomics), cell culturing (iPS cells, organoids), microscopy (live cell imaging, electron microscopy) and bioinformatics (high-performance computing). Peter de Keizer is assistant professor in "Senescence in Cancer and Aging". His research has been highlighted in numerous national and international media items. His aim is to unravel the molecular mechanisms that cause cells to become senescent and to identify how these cells drive aging and age-related diseases. The role of senescence in late-stage therapy-resistant cancer is a major component of this research. The research has a strong translational component and a spearpoint of the group is to develop methods to target the deleterious effects of senescent and senescent-like cancer cells, for instance by eliminating them altogether. Peter is also the co-founder of Cleara Biotech B.V. which develops compounds against senescence-driven diseases, including cancer, and prepares them for clinical translation.


You should have obtained your PhD with a specialization in a biological, biomedical or bioinformatics area. Experience with next-generation sequencing is required.

The maximum salary for this position (100%) is € 4.216,00 gross per month based on full-time employment (work week 36 hours). This job is based on a temporary position for 3 years.

In addition, we offer an annual benefit of 8.3%, holiday allowance, travel expenses, career opportunities and personal budget. The terms of employment are in accordance with the Cao University Medical Centers (UMC).


The exact duration of both positions depends on whether subsequent funcding can be secured. The first contract will be for one year, with the possibility of extension. Please send an application letter with a personal and scientific motivation and including the names of two references.

More information

If you have any questions about this vacancy, please contact Mr.Peter de Keizer, Principal Investigator via phone +31 (0)88 75 685 37 or email

Acquisition based on this jobopening is not appreciated.

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