Vacature: PhD Vitamin D and hereditary cancer

Deze vacature is aangedragen door de WUR.

Would you like to investigate whether vitamin D influences the risk of large bowel tumors among persons with an inherited predisposition to cancer? Do you have a passion for state-of the-art techniques to analyse biomarker, genetic and dietary data? Are you interested in collaborating with epidemiologists, geneticists and clinicians in an international project? We are looking for you! You will work on a 4-year research project funded by Wereld Kanker Onderzoek Fonds (WKOF) and World Cancer Research Fund International. In this project, you will focus on the relation between vitamin D and the occurrence of large bowel tumors among persons with Lynch syndrome. This research will be executed in collaboration with the Netherlands Foundation for the Detection of Hereditary Tumors (StOET) in Leiden, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle, and the Ohio State University in Ohio. The location of the PhD-position is at Wageningen University.

Persons with Lynch syndrome are born with a genetic mutation, which makes them highly susceptible to develop large bowel tumors during their life. In the general population, vitamin D concentrations are inversely associated with large bowel tumors. Since vitamin D concentrations have never been investigated in Lynch syndrome before, we aim to unravel the role of vitamin D in the development of large bowel tumours in an international consortium of Lynch syndrome cohorts. This will be done by evaluating vitamin D from different angels: measured and genetically predicted concentrations as well as dietary and supplemental intake of vitamin D. More information can be found here (link webpage).

As PhD-student, you will be responsible for the coordination of the Dutch GEOLynch study (link webpage). In addition, you will be responsible for communication with the other international cohorts: setting up agreements, organizing the retrieval and laboratory analyses of blood samples and the collection of follow-up data of tumor diagnoses. You will harmonize the data from all cohorts, will analyse the 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 webpage), which is led by Prof. Ellen Kampman (link WUR page). You will be supervised by Dr. van Duijnhoven (link WUR page).

• a successfully completed MSc degree in (bio)medical sciences, health sciences, 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;
• proven experience with epidemiological data analyses;
• a strong interest in genetics;
• affinity with multidisciplinary research in an international setting.

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.

Wageningen University & Research
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!

Do you want more information?
For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Fränzel van Duijnhoven, Assistant Professor, telephone 0317-485375 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 21st 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.

Datum plaatsing: 22 december 2021