Vacancy for an Early Stage Researcher in HONOURs

HONOURs is an Innovative Training Network (No: 721367) on host switching pathogens, infectious outbreaks and zoonosis: There are 15 positions for Early Stage Researchers (ESR) at the interface of veterinary and human health, virology, biostatistics, and pathogen discovery, and we are looking for highly motivated and talented students with a MSc degree in Life Sciences who are interested in viruses and infectious diseases. We offer challenging research projects to lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis) at high profile universities, research institutions and companies, located in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The framework of the network and the research projects are presented at the HONOURs website: 

Recruitment for ESR6 has started on 3rd of December 2018. Deadline for application 1st Jan 2019. 

ESR6: Replication of enteric and respiratory viruses in digestive tract epithelial cells and human airway epithelial cells

Host Institute: Amsterdam UMC, location AMC, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The AMC is one of the foremost research institutions in the Netherlands, as well as one of its largest hospitals. It is a hospital in which patient care, research and education are integrated. It is full of possibilities for talented individuals that are looking for a place where they can excel. At the Laboratory of Experimental Virology, Virus Discovery Unit, fully equipped research labs, two BSL-2 and one BSL-3 laboratory are available. The AMC hosts a sequencing facility with ABI 9700 machines for Sanger sequencing, and a fully operational next generation sequencing laboratory with two Ion Torrent platforms and a MiSeq Illumina system.

Project description: Epithelial cells from the digestive tract or the respiratory tract are the main target for viral infection and entering the human body. The best prediction for disease in humans is provided when one observes replication in a culture system with high similarity to the in vivo situation. Such culture systems are primary differentiated human airway epithelial (HAE) cell culture and colon organoid culture. In the project clinical respiratory or stool samples will be inoculated onto intestinal or respiratory differentiated ex vivo cultures. In case infection is observed the replicating virus will be investigated by VIDISCA with Next Generation Sequencing. Apical/basolateral release of progeny virus will be investigated and viral transcripts studied to analyse which proteins of the virus are expressed. Dr. Lia van der Hoek is head of the Virus Discovery group at the AMC and will guide the ESR. The ESR will join a team comprised of three PhD students, three technicians, and one PI (Lia van der Hoek).

HONOURs is looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic researcher with a flexible, pro-active team spirit and a recent MSc degree (within the first four years after graduation) in the field of biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, virology or life sciences. Interest and experience in virus culture and molecular biology is an advantage. Proficiency in English speaking, reading, and writing is a requirement. The applicant should not have obtained her/his MSc degree in the Netherlands (mobility rule EU), and at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, be in the first four years of the research degree. Read the further requirements.

Supervisor: Lia van der Hoek; Duration: 48 months (20 months HONOURs, 28 months provided by host institute); Doctoral defence at the University of Amsterdam.

  • Applications include a Motivation letter, a CV, and Reference letter(s).
  • Applications via, subject: APPLICATION_HONOURs_ESR6


Host switching pathogens, infectious outbreaks and zoonosis; a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 721367.