PhD candidate in Targeted Drug Delivery
Leiden University Leiden Institute of Chemistry

The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Institute of Chemistry are looking for a PhD candidate in Targeted Drug Delivery (1.0 FTE).


Project description

The purpose of this project is to design a new type of nanomedicine that specifically targets the blood-brain barrier (BBB). We recently discovered novel synthetic liposomes capable of targeting the BBB with unprecedented specificity, and that this targeting capability is based solely on lipid composition.


The project will reveal the molecular basis and mechanism of BBB targeting and uptake of liposomes in zebrafish as a reliable in vivo model system. The observed cell-specific, receptor-mediated targeting of liposomes represents a major breakthrough, paving the way to targeted nanomedicine delivery to the brain.


In this project you will (1) elucidate the mechanism of BBB targeting and uptake using a combination of (bio)chemical and molecular biology approaches, (2) systematically explore the chemical space linking liposome composition, morphology, in vivo protein (hard) corona and in vivo BBB targeting by quantifying key pharmacokinetic parameters; (3) study in vivo delivery to the BBB of cargoes relevant for future therapies and diagnostics (small molecules, biomolecules, gold nanoparticles, and mRNA/siRNA).


The outcome of this project will be a potentially game-changing new approach for efficient nanomedicine delivery to and across the BBB. 


Selection criteria

  • Master’s degree in Chemistry, preferably in Chemical Biology, Biochemistry or Pharmaceutical Sciences;
  • Excellent proficiency in English;
  • Strong knowledge and skills in biological/organic chemistry and pharmaceutical sciences;
  • Keen interest in carrying out research with creative ideas and be able to work independently;
  • PhD research needs to start ultimately January 2020.


Our organisation

The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development is top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organized in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programs. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 1,300 staff and almost 4,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.


The chemistry and life science research in the Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC) is organized around two major research areas: ‘Chemical Biology’ and ‘Energy & Sustainability’. The institute’s research themes illustrate the central position of chemistry between biology, medicine and physics. The various research topics carried out within these themes are ideal for executing interdisciplinary research.


Terms and conditions

We offer a position for initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary range from €2,325 to €2,972 gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.


All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness. In addition, advanced courses to deepen scientific knowledge are offered by the research school.



Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.



Enquiries can be made to: Prof.dr. Alexander Kros, email

If you have any questions about the procedure, please contact secretary Mrs. Michelle van der Haar, email



To apply for this vacancy, please send no later than 30 October 2019 an email to the secretary of the ‘Supramoleuclar Chemistry and Biomaterials group, Mrs. Michelle van der Haar, email

Please ensure that you join to your application the following additional documents:

  • A letter of motivation;
  • An updated CV;
  • Copy of master’s thesis or any other publication (if available);
  • The transcripts of your MSc studies and copy of your degree;
  • Written letters of recommendation by at least two former supervisors.

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Bioloxy


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