Johnson & Johnson Careers

PhD Student

Leiden, Netherlands

Job Description

Requisition ID: 1905749461W

The Viral Vaccine discovery and translational medicine department of Janssen Pharmaceutica Leiden focuses on the research and development of vaccines against viral infectious diseases. Within Viral Vaccines, the Preclinical Immunology group evaluates the immunogenicity and efficacy of vaccine candidates against viral infectious diseases in animal models. The main focus of the group is to conduct proof of concept studies to generate appropriate scientific data to enable progression of vaccine candidates towards clinical evaluation and to generate supportive data for clinical development.

We are looking for a PhD student for the following project:

Janssen Vaccines is utilizing its adenoviral based vaccine platform in a variety of infectious disease vaccine programs at different stages of clinical development. Janssen has in depth knowledge of adenoviral vector construction, formulation and evaluation of these in established animal (viral disease) models and aims to expand its knowledge on Ad vaccine induced immunity. Viral pathogens that invade via the mucosal route like influenza and respiratory syncytia virus (RSV), or genital route like papilloma virus and Herpes simplex virus (HSV) likely are more efficiently protected against by vaccination that provides a strong immune response at the mucosal point of entry next to a systemic response. Traditional intramuscular vaccination with genetic vaccines may not provide this local protection and/or require additional modulation for optimal mucosal protection. Adenoviral (Ad) vector vaccine delivery by other routes than the intramuscular one has been confirmed to be achievable (Çuburu et al. Int J Cancer 2018) but needs to be explored and characterized in detail. Which cells are targeted after vaccination in these tissues and how the immune response is initiated in contrast to intramuscular vaccination and subsequent triggering of innate and metabolic pathways is not known. Such knowledge will help to better utilize Ad vectors for mucosal vaccination to prevent for example RSV or HSV infection. The high-level approach will consist of exploring additional mucosal routes of vaccination with adenoviral vectors in established animal models. The adaptive local and systemic immune response (like induced innate immune response profile, targeted immune cells in the draining lymph node and site of infection, and metabolic pathway induction) as well as the protective capacity of these novel application routes will be compared to the traditional route of administration. Part of the work will be performed in collaboration with the laboratories of Prof. J Hiscott and Dr. A. Bergthaler. Further in vitro characterization of Ad induced innate and metabolism pathways will be performed to confirm in vivo findings. To optimize dosage via mucosal routes vaccine formulations will be developed in close collaboration with the formulation department at Janssen and tested for in vivo potency.

Prospective PhD candidates should have a MSc in Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Immunology, infectious diseases or a related field. They should have knowledge of infectious diseases and the immune system and should be highly motivated to work in a dynamic international team independently.

Primary Location
Netherlands-South Holland-Leiden-
Janssen Vaccines & Prevention BV (8852)
Job Function
Requisition ID