Scholarship in Europe

PhD scholarship – Liver Cell Biology (VUB Jette) – Brussels, Belgium

For already 50 years, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel has stood for freedom, equality and connectedness. These values are strongly present on our campuses, in our students as well as our staff. At the VUB, you’ll find a diverse collection of personalities: pure innovators and especially people who are 100% their authentic selves. With about 3.500 employees, we are the largest Dutch-speaking employer in Brussels, an international city with which we are all too happy to be connected, and around which our four campuses are located.

Our education and research are grounded in the principles of free research with an eye on human progress. We disapprove of every purely authoritative argument and guarantee the free formation of judgement that is necessary for this basic principle to be incorporated in the community.

The VUB is autonomous and managed democratically. As such, we guarantee fundamental freedoms within our university, as well as the right of the university community to be involved in making and checking university policy.

The mission of the university includes:

  • the development, the transfer and the application of high-standing academic education and scientific research, free from any prejudice;
  • community integration of this in a spirit of social compassion;
  • critical development of everyone in light of the responsibilities borne in the community.

2 – Position description

The Faculteit Geneeskunde en Farmacie, Department Basis (bio)-medische wetenschappen, is looking for a PhD-student with a doctoral grant.

More concretely your work package, for the preparation of a doctorate, contains:

PhD research on the intitiation of liver fibrosis, as a member of the Liver Cell Biology research group of Prof. Leo van Grunsven, Brussels Health Campus of the VUB (Jette).

The lab studies molecular mechanism involved in liver disease and liver regeneration, thereby making use of several mouse models as well as in vitro models of liver disease (for more information please visit The general aim of the PhD project is to increase our understanding of the initiating events of hepatic stellate cell activation that take place when a liver is damaged due to an acute or even a chronic liver insult. The project is based on the central hypothesis that quiescent HSCs quickly respond to injury by driving the transcription of only a limited set of genes that result in the final scar tissue-forming activated phenotype.

You will study liver fibrosis initiation and hepatic stellate cell activation in mouse livers and in advanced in vitro 3D spheroid cultures.

You will determine the chromatin landscape and dynamics of quiescent, activated and inactivated HSCs.

You will be trained in RNAseq analysis, multicellular 3D tissue culture and all standard RNA and protein techniques.

You’ll have the opportunity to participate in local and international conferences, in order to expand your scientific network.

You will enroll in the Doctoral School of Life Sciences and Medicine to benefit from workshops on domain specific skills as well as transferable skills.

For this function, our Brussels Health Campus (Jette) will serve as your home base.

3 – Profile

What do we expect from you?

Master diploma biomedical sciences, biology, biochemistry, bio-engineer or a related biomedical diploma.

A candidate should:

· hold a diploma or Master degree in biomedical sciences, biology, biochemistry or bioengineering or related biomedical field, with excellent marks.

· show interest or have lab experience in molecular biology and tissue culture.

· show interest or have experience in (single cell) RNAseq analysis using Python or R.

· be structured and responsible and contribute with enthusiasm to an ambitious and interdisciplinary team.

· be fluent in written and spoken English.

· be able to start his/her PhD in November 2022  (a slight delay is possible).

  • You have not performed any works in the execution of a mandate as an assistant, paid from operating resources, over a total (cumulated) period of more than 12 months.

4 – Offer

Are you going to be our new colleague?

You’ll be offered a full-time PhD-scholarship, for 12 months (extendable up to max. 48 months, on condition of the positive evaluation of the PhD activities), with planned starting date 01/11/2022.

You’ll receive a grant linked to one of the scales set by the government.

IMPORTANT: The effective result of the doctorate scholarship is subject to the condition precedent of your enrolment as a doctorate student at the university.

At the VUB, you’re guaranteed an open, involved and diverse workplace where you are offered opportunities to (further) build on your career.

As well as this, you’ll enjoy various benefits:

  • Full reimbursement for your home-work commute with public transport according to VUB-policy, or compensation if you come by bike;
  • Cost-free hospitalisation insurance;
  • The space to form your job content and continuously learn via VUB LRN;
  • Excellent facilities for sport and exercise;
  • Ecocheques;
  • Delicious meals at attractive prices in our campus restaurants;
  • An open, family-friendly work environment where attention is paid to work-life balance, and exceptional holiday arrangements with 35 days of leave (based on a fulltime contract).

5 – Interested?

Is this the job you’ve been dreaming of?

Send us ONLINE and at the latest on 15/09/2022 your CV, letter of motivation and the highest degree you’ve attained (not applicable for VUB alumni).

Do you have questions about the job content? Contact Leo van Grunsven at or on +32+(0)2-4774407.

Would you like to know what it’s like to work at the VUB? Go to and find all there is to know about our campuses, benefits, strategic goals and your future colleagues.

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