PhD student (1,0 FTE, 4 years)





Plaatsingsdatum: 29 januari 2024

PhD candidate position in melanoma biomarkers | 1.0 fte, 4 years | Research Institute for
Oncology and Reproduction | Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences

Within the framework of the recently acknowledged KWF project “Validation of the clinical
performance and cost-effectiveness of LY75 promoter methylation in identifying high risk
stage I-III cutaneous melanoma lesions”, the research group of prof. dr. Manon van Engeland
is looking for a highly motivated PhD student focusing on melanoma biomarkers. The group
aims to identify and validate biomarkers for early detection and risk stratification in
melanoma skin cancer. The long-term goal is to develop biomarkers that can be used in
clinical practice to aid and ease the decision-making processes in the management of
cutaneous malignant melanoma.

Job description
The current project is built upon extensive previous knowledge generated to further improve
and validate prediction models for the risk stratification of early-stage melanoma patients.
The previous identified prognostic DNA methylation biomarker Ly75 will be validated in a
large-scale study cohort and multiple clinico-pathological variables will be scored. The goal of
this project is to develop a clinical prediction model based on all collected clinical, molecular
and pathological variables, in order to precisely predict the risk of disease recurrence or
developing metastases in early-stage melanoma patients.

Activities within this project include the testing and validation of the biomarker Ly75 from
formalin fixed and paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissues using highly sophisticated PCR-based
techniques. In addition, you will be involved in evaluating H&E slides for multiple clinicpathological features. Affinity with pathology and/or experience in pathology work is
preferred. In collaboration with the department of Clinical Epidemiology and Medical
Technology Assessment (KEMTA), a Health Technology Assessment is planned.

This project is a unique project in a research group with ample experience in the research
field of biomarkers in cancer. It is part of a collaboration between different departments
and research groups of the academical centers of Maastricht (MUMC+), Utrecht (UMCU)
and Leiden (LUMC). You will be mainly embedded and located in the Pathology department
of the Maastricht UMC+, in close collaboration with the department of Pathology in Utrecht

Selection criteria/About you
We are looking for an enthusiastic, highly motivated and dedicated PhD student who is
excited about translational research in cancer, with a particular interest in pathology. You are
pro-active, capable of working independently and a team player.
A Master’s degree in a relevant field, such as Medicine, Biomedical Sciences or Medical
Biology is a prerequisite. Some experience in evaluating histological slides, cancer prediction
models and/or PCR techniques is an advantage. A very good command of English and Dutch
in listening, speaking, reading and writing is necessary.

Expected start of the project: May 1st, 2024
The deadline for receipt of applications: March 1st, 2024

Additional information
For any informal enquiries about this PhD position, please contact:
Prof. Dr. M. Van Engeland, email:
Dr. V. Winnepenninckx, email:

Maastricht University is committed to promoting and nurturing a diverse and inclusive
community. We believe that diversity in our staff and student population contributes to the
quality of research and education at UM, and strive to enable this through inclusive policies
and innovative projects led by teams of staff and students. We encourage you to apply for
this position.