university of groningen | Scholarship for Nigerians and Africans

PhD Scholarship at University of Groningen, Netherlands

A better understanding of complex or polygenic diseases has become a major research topic in the field of human genetics. A common hypothesis in this field is “common disease, common variant”, which suggests that complex diseases are caused by a large set of common but weak disease-associated variants. To find these common variants, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are being undertaken to detect the genomic loci (and the genes therein) in many common, complex diseases. However, the identified loci usually only account for a fraction of the total genetic risk. This project is based on a complementary hypothesis, namely that besides many common weak mutations, complex diseases also need several rare, but probably stronger, mutations. To test this hypothesis we will work on a highly heritable, complex disorder called Hirschsprung disease (HSCR).

The two PhD students will combine next generation sequencing with expression data generated from enteric nervous system progenitors (in both man and mouse) and functionally analyse potential candidate disease genes in vitro and in vivo to test our hypothesis. Not only will we be able to unravel the genetic background of HSCR, but we will also gain a better insight into how the enteric nervous system develops. These findings may also serve as a model for other complex diseases and establish the importance of combinations of rare, coding and non-coding variants in complex disease.

What do we need?
We are looking for candidates with an MSc in molecular cell biology. They should be highly ambitious, have strong social skills, and the ability to work in a multidisciplinary environment. In addition, the candidates should have a strong interest in bioinformatics/biostatistics.
Scholarship Application Deadline: 11 January 2011
Further scholarship Information and Application

Physicist (PhD Student) for Dosimetry Development in Proton Therapy, Netherlands

The Radiotherapy department of the UMCG treats approximately 3,600 patients per year. It is staffed by 180 employees from a range of disciplines. Equipment in the department currently includes seven linear accelerators for megavoltage photon and electron radiation treatments and apparatus for photon and electron dosimetry. The UMCG is preparing for a clinical facility to provide proton radiation therapy on its campus, because this treatment modality offers a considerable advance in conforming the treatment dose to the target and thereby reducing side effects for the patient. A very good knowledge of the absolute radiation dose is a prerequisite to achieve this.
The Kernfysisch Versneller Instituut (KVI) is a national institute for research in the fields of fundamental and applied atomic and subatomic physics. It is an interfaculty institute of the University of Groningen and its 120 staff members are employed partly by the university and partly by the NWO Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM). KVI and UMCG are partners in PARTREC, Particle Therapy Research Centre, a centre established to optimize the use of particle irradiations in radiation oncology.

The joint project of UMCG and KVI within PARTREC to develop “A national dosimetry standard for proton therapy” is funded by Technology Foundation STW. This project will be conducted in collaboration with the Dutch national metrology institute Van Swinden Laboratory (VSL) in Delft. Purpose is to develop a dosimeter to make absolute dose measurements traceable to an (inter)national standard. Also a reference beam line for clinical relevant proton beams will be designed to enable (inter)national intercomparisons of dosimetry equipment at KVI. VSL will use the dosimeter standard to perform certified calibrations on a commercial base of locally used “working standards” for proton beams used in public health and industry, according to established international protocols.

* Design of a calorimeter, encompassing the conducting of simulations, process modelling, read-out electronics and data-acquisition.
* Experimental study to characterise and to optimize the performance of the calorimeter, encompassing the study of the effects of dynamic dose application and spatial variations of a dose distribution.
* Study of the contributions of neutrons to the signal formation.
* Study of short and long term effects of material damage and chemical changes due to interactions of the radiation with calorimeter material.
* Assistance in the preparation and commissioning of the reference beam line at KVI.
* Publication and presentation of the results of the research in international scientific journals and conferences.
* Active participation in the research group at UMCG and KVI working in fields related to physics and technology for radiation therapy and especially proton therapy.
* Contribution to the supervision of MSc and BSc students doing their research in the group.
* Contribution to general (a.o. teaching) tasks at KVI and/or UMCG.
* Participation in the PhD-educational program of the FANTOM and Guide graduate schools.
Scholarship Application Deadline: 11 January 2011
Further Scholarship information and Application

Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Evolutionary Biology

Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Evolutionary Biology is a new two-year research oriented master programme for talented and motivated students who are interested in understanding evolution in all its facets. MEME is a joint project between four European universities (University of Groningen, Netherlands; Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Germany; Uppsala University, Sweden; University of Montpellier II, France) and Harvard University (USA). Students will start the programme at one of these universities, and will spend at least one semester at a partner university. Upon completion of the program, students will be awarded double or (in some cases) triple degrees from two or three partner universities.
The European Commision will grant a number of scholarships to highly qualified students to participate in the MEME programme. The selection procedure for these scholarships will be carried out by the Admission and Examination Committee of the MEME programme. Each year, a total of 18 – 20 scholarships will be awarded to participating students. There will be 10 scholarships for category A students and 8 scholarships for category B students. Because of an EU initiative named “Western Balkans and Turkey Window”, we will be able to award two additional scholarships to students from the following countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, Croatia and Turkey. These scholarships will be awarded as category A scholarships.

Scholarships for both categories of students will cover all participation costs for the MEME programme, including tuition fee, insurance, language courses and summer schools.

Scholarship Application Deadline: January 15th, 2011

Further Scholarship Information and Application