ERC-funded PhD Student in Dendritic Cells and Tolerance

Ghent VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research

21 Feb 2024


VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research

Sophie Janssens Lab



Job description

The VIB Center for Inflammation Research is part of the VIB Life Sciences Institute and is connected to Ghent University. Our center focuses on the mechanisms driving infection and inflammation.

The Sophie Janssens lab is looking for a motivated PhD student to join our dendritic cell maturation team. Our lab is highly interested in dissecting pathways that drive homeostatic versus immunogenic dendritic cell maturation and identified lipid nanoparticle (LNP)-based approaches that can direct DC maturation in vivo in either direction (Bosteels et al., Sci Imm, 2023). This is important as it might steer our immune system in the direction of immunity or tolerance against LNP-encoded cargo. In the frame of a recently approved ERC-Proof of Concept grant, we are looking for a highly motivated PhD student who wants to explore these findings further and explore whether LNP-based vaccination strategies could be extended to induce tolerance against allergens or autoimmune antigens. You will be supported by a team of postdoctoral researchers, PhD students and technicians in the Sophie Janssens Team with whom you will work in close collaboration. The project will be performed near labs at the Faculty of Pharmacy who will help design and formulate the LNP-based vaccines.


  • Master in biology, biomedical sciences, medical sciences, biochemistry/biotechnology or related disciplines
  • A strong desire to complete a PhD and translate basic science toward potential medical applications
  • Keen interest in dendritic cell biology and immunology
  • Experience in working with mouse models (FELASA C required)
  • English verbal and written communication skills required

We offer

  • A one-year contract during which you are expected to apply for a personal fellowship
  • An enjoyable working environment in a team of highly motivated PhD students, technicians and postdoctoral researchers
  • Extensive training opportunities
  • A stimulating and supportive international research environment

How to apply?

Submit your application which includes a CV, motivation letter describing your research interests and career goals, digital copies of university transcripts (Bachelor’s and Master’s) and contact information of one to three references.


VIB values diversity - in backgrounds and in experiences. The institute needs people from all backgrounds and ways of life to help build a thriving scientific environment. VIB is therefore looking for candidates who are not only strong in their own aptitudes but care deeply about supporting each other's growth. VIB's collaborators are people with different strengths, experiences and backgrounds, who share a passion for science that generates impact in science and in society. Diversity not only includes race and gender identity, but also nationality, age, disability status, sexual orientation, religion and many other parts of one’s identity. All of VIB’s employees’ points of view are key to its success, and inclusion is everyone's responsibility.