PhD position: Ex vivo perfusion, multi-omics and magnetic resonance imaging of donor kidneys

Status Open
Beschikbaar per -
Werkgever UMCG
Afdeling Surgical Research Laboratory, Organ donation and Transplantation
Dienstverband Voltijd
Werktijden -
Locatie Groningen
Sluitingsdatum 22 november, 2020
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Overige informatie

Working environment

The Surgical Research Laboratory is a state-of-the-art facility at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). Our translational research focuses on pre-transplant organ evaluation and resuscitation. Ex vivo machine perfusion of donor organs is one of the key areas of expertise in which our group has a world-renowned reputation. Our research group is closely linked to the clinical department of Surgery – Organ donation and Transplantation and, thus, experimental findings at the lab can easily be translated into clinical studies and vice versa. Our facilities are located at the central UMCG campus in the vibrant student town of Groningen, the Netherlands. PhD students are enrolled in the Graduate School of Medical Sciences of the University of Groningen.

We are looking for an enthusiastic and ambitious PhD candidate with an interest in both experimental and clinical organ perfusion.

Job description

Transplant centers worldwide are increasingly utilizing ex vivo normothermic (37°C) machine perfusion to better preserve, evaluate and potentially even repair damaged donor kidneys prior to transplantation. However, in depth understanding of ex vivo organ physiology is lacking, which seriously impairs our ability to reliably evaluate organ quality during perfusion. In addition, it remains uncertain to what extent normothermic perfusion strategies conserve organ quality better than standard cold preservation techniques. In the EU-funded PRE-IMAGE project, we will focus on these important questions, by combining multi-omics with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during ex vivo normothermic kidney perfusion.

Your PhD research will be embedded in the framework of the PRE-IMAGE collaboration. In your PhD project, you will have the opportunity to further explore ex vivo kidney perfusion techniques as well as renal fMRI, both from a technical/engineering and from a biological point of view. You will be actively involved in multicenter experimental and clinical studies that characterize ex vivo renal physiology, as well as determine the diagnostic and biological advantage of normothermic ex vivo kidney perfusion prior to transplantation. Thus, your research will be an important contribution to better understanding how deceased donor kidneys should be assessed, in order to transplant more good organs.

Specifically, together with our current team of PhD students and technicians, you will:

  • Set up and conduct an extensive series of experimental (porcine) kidney perfusions in an MRI scanner, where you will study in and ex vivo renal physiology side-by-side, by means of multi-omics and advanced functional imaging sequences.
  • Set up and conduct a large multicenter clinical study in which human kidneys will, for the first time ever, undergo several hours of normothermic ex vivo perfusion prior to actual transplantation.

Please visit the website for more in-depth information.

Last but not least, you will be encouraged to train as a clinical organ perfusionist and participate as team member at the UMCG’s Organ Perfusion and Resuscitation facility, perfusing human donor kidneys, livers and lungs prior to transplantation. This experience may eventually result in a clinical position which extends beyond the boundaries of your PhD.

We envision your PhD project to start early 2021.


MSc in Technical Medicine, Biomedical Technology, Medicine, or Biomedical Sciences.

You should be a genuine team player, highly motivated, self-driven and willing to also work in a flexible time schedule, including occasional evenings, nights and weekends. In addition, we expect you to have a high level of written and spoken academic English. Being proficient in Dutch is not a prerequisite but will be considered an asset.

You are expected to independently conduct a 3-year research project embedded in the Experimental Transplantation group of Prof. Henri Leuvenink and Dr. Cyril Moers, as well as to collaborate with transplant clinicians at the departments of Surgery and Nephrology of the UMCG. Since part of the PRE-IMAGE project will be conducted at the well-equipped MRI and animal facilities of Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, a 3-12 month stay abroad could also be part of your project.

What do we offer?

  • A research project aimed at impact at the highest international level
  • Mentoring, supervision and training in an informal and friendly work climate
  • A fun, stimulating and international research environment
  • Access to state-of-the-art infrastructure
  • The unique opportunity to also become one of our clinical organ perfusionists

Your salary will be a minimum of €2.495 gross per month in the first year and a maximum of €3.050 in the third year, based on a full-time appointment. In addition, the UMCG will offer you 8% holiday pay and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.

More information

Please feel free to contact Dr. Cyril Moers, transplant surgeon and tenure track assistant professor, for more information about this position. Email:, phone: +31-50-3610474. Please do not use this e-mail address for applications. Also, have a look at

Information about the Groningen Institute for Organ Transplantation:

Information about Groningen:

Apply here!



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