Developmental Biology

a worm

PhD Candidate or PostDoc - Control of apical polarity by the evolutionarily conserved PAR and Crumbs complexes (1,0 fte)

Job description

We are seeking to recruit an enthusiastic and motivated PhD student or Postdoctoral fellow, to join the group of Dr. Mike Boxem, at the Developmental Biology division at Utrecht University. The candidate will investigate the control of cell polarity by the PAR and Crumbs complexes in the nematode C. elegans.

The ability to generate an axis of polarity is a fundamental property of animal cells. It is a prerequisite for cellular functions such as migration and asymmetric division, and for the functional specification of many cell types. Studies in C. elegans and Drosophila have identified a series of cortically localized proteins that can drive the establishment of polarity. The PAR and Crumbs complexes together promote apical domain identity, while the Scribble group promotes basolateral identity. Although it is clear that mutual exclusion is a key aspect of how cortical polarity regulators establish polarity, we currently lack a good mechanistic understanding of how these core regulators establish cell polarity.

The candidate will investigate the interactions between the Crumbs and PAR complexes in C. elegans, using a combination of genetics screens, in vivo localization studies, and generation and analysis of specific point mutants using CRISPR/Cas9.


We are looking for highly motivated individuals (MSc. or equivalent for PhD, and PhD degree for PostDoc) with experience, or an interest in developmental biology and in working with the model organism C. elegans. He/she communicates easily in English, both verbally and in writing, and is eager to work within a team of enthusiastic researchers.


The candidate is offered a full-time position for 4 years (PhD) or 3 years (Postdoc). The salary is supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8,3% per year. In addition we offer: a pension scheme, a partially paid parental leave, flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities. The research group will provide the candidate with necessary support on all aspects of the project.

The gross salary is in the range between € 2.125,- (P/0) and maximum € 3.908,- (10/12) per month.

About the organisation

Utrecht University has great ambitions for its teaching quality and study success rates. This also applies to its clear research profiles which are centred around four themes: Dynamics of Youth, Institutions, Life Sciences and Sustainability. Utrecht University plays a prominent role in our society and contributes to finding the answers to topical and future societal issues.

The Faculty of Science consists of six departments: Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Information and Computing Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry and Mathematics. The Faculty is home to 3500 students and nearly 2000 staff and is internationally renowned for the quality of its research. The Faculty's academic programmes reflect developments in today's society.

Developmental Biology is part of the Institute of Biodynamics and Biocomplexity (IBB) of the Biology department. The research of the Developmental Biology division focuses on studying biological principles in the context of living, developing multicellular organisms. Three research groups use C. elegans as a model system. The groups work in close collaboration, providing critical mass and a vibrant atmosphere with many national and international contacts. The candidate will have access to state-of-the-art microscopy facilities, both in house and through the Biology Imaging Center of the IBB. The Developmental Biology division also houses the newly established Large-Particle Flow Cytometry Facility.

Additional information

Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from: Dr. Mike Boxem (+31 30 253 3714 or


Please submit your application by e-mail to Attach a letter of motivation, curriculum vitae and (email) addresses of two referees. Application deadline is 01-06-2015.