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Vacancy: PhD Folic acid and chemotherapy-induced toxicities

This vacancy has been recommended by the WUR.  width=

The impact of nutrition on cancer treatment fascinates us. Are you interested in working with us on an exciting project focussing on the intersection between nutrition, epigenetics and oncology? Are you passionate about complex biological mechanisms and do you want to analyse epidemiological and molecular data? Do you want to work within an ambitious, multidisciplinary and international research team? We are looking for you!

You will work on a 4-year project funded by World Cancer Research Fund (WKOF) and World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) International. This project is a collaboration with Northumbria University in the UK, Bevital Laboratory in Norway and various clinical centres in the Netherlands. In this project, you will work on the question whether and how intake and status of common B-vitamins (folate and folic acid) might interfere with folate-based chemotherapies in patients with large bowel cancer.

To endure the disease and side-effects of therapy, changes in dietary habits and use of dietary supplements are common among individuals with large bowel cancer. There are substantial concerns about excessive intake of some B-vitamins that may accelerate tumor growth or interfere with cancer treatment. The overall aim of this project is to study folate, folic acid and related biomarkers in relation to prognostic outcomes and chemotherapy-induced toxicities, with consideration of genetic variants in folate-related genes and DNA methylation of folate-responsive genes. More information can be found here: link to webpage.

As PhD-student, you will be involved in the conduct and coordination of the COLON study, an ongoing prospective colon study including data from ~2300 people diagnosed with large bowel cancer (link internet page), together with the research team. Moreover, you will collect clinical data from the participating hospitals (chart reviews), prepare and / or analyse blood samples for DNA methylation profiles and organize logistics for the project. You will process and analyse the collected data, and will present the results in scientific papers, in a PhD-thesis and at (inter)national conferences. Next to that, you will be involved in education, and will have the opportunity to develop your own skills and competences through courses and seminars.

The research is embedded within the chair Nutrition and Disease(link internet page), which is led by Prof. Ellen Kampman (link WUR page). You will be supervised by Dr. Cook (link WUR page).


  • a successfully completed MSc degree in (bio)medical sciences, biology, pharmaceutical science, nutrition & health, or a comparable academic degree;
  • excellent Dutch and English language proficiency (a minimum of CEFR C2 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page;
  • experience with epidemiological data analyses;
  • experience with or strong interest in laboratory analyses;
  • affinity with multidisciplinary research in a clinical setting and an interest to visit (Dutch) hospitals for data collection.

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • There is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.434,- per month rising to € 3.111,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the Best University in the Netherlands for the 16th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research’s International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

Do you want more information?
For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Dieuwertje Kok, Researcher Nutrition and Cancer, telephone 0317-485901 or by e-mail:

For more information about the procedure, please contact Rutger Voorrips, Recruiter, by email:

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including 9th of January 2022. We hope to schedule the first job interviews on 25th of January 2022. The preferred starting date for this position is before 1st of April 2022.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

The mission of Wageningen University and Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 6,800 employees and 12,900 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

Date of placement: 22 December 2021

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