PhD Candidate: Development of Methods to Design Dissolvable Microneedles for Intradermal Tuberculosis Vaccination

University of Leiden – Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science and the LACDR are looking for a

PhD candidate on development of methods to design dissolvable microneedles for intradermal tuberculosis vaccination (1.0 FTE)
Vacancy number 17-525

Key responsibilities
The aim of this project is to develop a procedure to prepare dissolvable microneedles on a high-throughput manner for intradermal tuberculosis vaccination.

Microneedles are needle-like structures with dimensions in the micrometer range that are used to deliver drugs and vaccines into the skin in a minimally-invasive and pain free manner. In this project we focus on dissolvable microneedles. Upon piercing of the skin the microneedles dissolve, thereby delivering the antigen into the skin.

In this project methods will be developed to fabricate dissolvable microneedles of which only the tips are loaded with a (nanoparticulate) tuberculose vaccine. To this end software and hardware need to be developed to generate a computer controlled system to load micro- and nanoliter volumes into microneedle molds. Furthermore, the skin piercing capacity of the dissolving microneedles will be investigated as well as the stability of the encapsulated vaccine during storage and release from the microneedles.

Selection Criteria

  • We are looking for an enthusiastic, highly motivated and ambitious scientist with a Master degree in (Biomedical) Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, or equivalent.
  • The PhD student should be able to work at the interface between various disciplines and should have excellent technical skills and know-how in software-hardware interphases and engineering.
  • Furthermore, the PhD student should have affinity with pharmaceutical sciences and display great team spirit, ability to collaborate with experts in different scientific disciplines, and easily communicate in English, both verbally and in writing.

Research at our faculty
The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry, and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organized in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 1,300 staff and almost 4,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

For more information, see

The LACDR is a leading institute dedicated to world-class research and education in drug discovery and development. LACDR comprises a diverse and international team of approximately 150 researchers and is ideally located at the Leiden Bio Science Park, the largest life science cluster in The Netherlands. For more information, see Additionally, you can check the website of the Division of BioTherapeutics at

Terms and conditions
We offer a one year position with the possibility of renewal based on need, funding and performance. Salary range from €2,222 to €2,840 gross per month (pay scale P, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development, and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at

All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science ( Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training, and personal effectiveness. In addition, advanced courses to deepen scientific knowledge are offered by the research school.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

For more information, please contact Prof. J.A. Bouwstra (

More vacancies and Information via

Do you identify with the profile above? Please apply no later than 20 January 2018 by email to the attention of Ms C. van Gent (email:

Applications should clearly state the vacancy number, and include a letter with your motivation for the position, a CV, a copy of your master thesis. Please label the accompanying files by starting with your last name followed by an underscore and a description of the file (e.g. Janssen_CV).