PhD: Single-cell dynamics within lung organoids

Date posted November 2, 2017
Type PhD positions

Organoids are miniature organs that can be grown in-vitro from adult stem cells. We have recently found that cells within lung organoids become surprisingly motile upon infection by the RSV virus, resulting in a dramatic, collective rotation of the entire spherical organoid. The aim of this project is to uncover the responsible mechanisms, which has implication for understanding the fundamentals of coordinated cellular motion in tissues and its role in viral infections. We will study these questions using confocal and light-sheet microscopy, cellular tracking analysis, and mathematical modelling. We will use fluorescent labeling to follow cell movement in space and time, both on the cellular and sub-cellular level. These highly quantitative data will provide a unique insight into the dynamic response of the lung epitheleum to viral infection and collective cell moltility in general. This is a joint project between the Tans and van Zon labs at AMOLF Amsterdam and is in collaboration with the Clevers lab at the Hubrecht institute, and the HUB institute in Utrecht.

About the group

Biophysics & Quantitative Development Biology


We are looking for an outstanding experimental physicist, chemist, or biologist with skills in handling complex data and an interest in fundamental questions about development, and a strong drive to excel in a competitive international environment. Prior experience with quantitative (light-sheet) microscopy, organoid/tissue culture or quantitative analysis of single-cell behavior is not required, but is considered a plus.

Terms of employment

The position is intended as full-time (38 hrs / week, 12 months / year) appointment in the service of the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I) for the duration of four years. After successful completion of the PhD research a PhD degree will be granted at one of the universities within the Netherlands. Several courses are offered, specially developed for PhD-students. AMOLF assists any new PhD-student with housing and visa applications and compensates their transport costs and furnishing expenses.

Contact info

Prof.dr. ir Sander Tans (Group leader Biophysics) and Dr. Jeroen van Zon (Group leader Quantitative Developmental Biology)
E-mail: or
Phone: +31 (0)20-754 7100

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