Training for Organoids modelling Physiology and Pathology in the human gastrointestinal tract

TOP-GUT: Call for applications for 11 Doctoral (PhD) Training Positions in the field of innovative preclinical model for advancing personalized medicine

Deadline 15th December 2023except for DC position 10 that is open until 14 January 2024

Offer Description

TOP-GUT is a highly interdisciplinary and intersectoral training network focused on training 11 doctoral candidates (DCs) (of which, one is recruited by the Swiss partner) in the field of innovative preclinical model for advancing personalized medicine.

TOP-GUT aims at providing to 11 DCs the skills to

  • develop new human organ models mimicking cellular compositions of organs
  • advance organ-on-chip technology
  • improve tools and protocols for more complex gastrointestinal (GI) models
  • develop new models for personalized medicine using patient-derived organoids
  • manage ethical, regulatory and legal aspects together with innovation management of implementation of GI models and to prepare the DCs for the European job market

Participating in TOP-GUT offers doctoral candidates many unique opportunities, including:

  • A project as Marie Skłodowska Curie trainee in one of the participating institutions with the objective of receiving a doctoral degree (PhD). 
  • State-of-the art, exciting research in an international consortium with highly integrated research projects.
  • up to 5 months of research training in the lab of another consortium member, mostly in a different EU country than the country where most of the project will take place.
  • Training in both academic and commercial research environments. 
  • Salary according to EU guidelines for Marie Skłodowska Curie trainees, including mobility payments and family allowances where applicable. 

Eligibility criteria

Experience eligibility requirement

Eligible candidates must:

  • hold a Master’s degree or equivalent in a field of science relevant to their chosen project (see below)
  • demonstrate a history of academic excellence
  • demonstrate an affinity for at least two of the topics, epithelial cell biology, organoids, organ-on-a-chip technology, basic Immunology and translational research
  • not already be in possession of a doctoral degree at the date of recruitment.
Mobility eligibility requirement

The fellow must not have resided in the country where the research training activities will take place for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the recruitment date (and not have carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in that country).

Other requirements


  • Applicants must speak and write fluently in English
  • Applicants should be available to start their project preferably not later than March 1st, 2024
  • Applicants must be eligibile to work in the European Union.
  • Other eligibility criteria may apply depending on the recruiting beneficiary.


Application Process

TOP-GUT will select Doctoral Candidates through a 2-step recruitment process. 

The selection procedure will be open, transparent, and merit-based, fully aligned with the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. Although the selection will be based on the quality of applications, gender balance will also be considered.

Candidates can apply for maximum three PhD projects and the applications need to be submitted separately.
Applications (in English) must include:

  1. a cover letter which will also include the motivation for the position, emphasizing the candidate’s strength regarding the project and the requirements (max 3 pages)
  2. a CV (max 2 pages)
  3. a scanned copy of all relevant diplomas or certificates that formally entitle the candidate to embark on a doctorate. Typically, these documents will include Batchelor’s and Master’s Degree certificates. In case the Master’s Degree has not been obtained yet at the closing date for application, the candidate has to submit a declaration signed by their supervisor or University official stating that the degree will be obtained by the time of PhD enrolment.
  4. Letter of Recommendation from two appropriate referees or contact details of two referees

Application documents in a single pdf file should be sent by email to the relevant project supervisors (see email address in individual project descriptions). The subject line of the email must be in the following format: “TOP-GUT: application for Project #_Title of PhD project”.

The closing date for applications is 15th December, 2023.

Applicants are advised to familiarise themselves thoroughly with the projects, for which they apply and be ready to answer questions on their chosen topics. After reviewing all project applications, supervisors of individual projects will contact selected applicants to organise an initial screening interview by telephone or videoconferencing. The most promising candidates may then be invited to a personal interview at the host institution or a further videoconference, potentially with several other project supervisors.

DC Project Title Primary Supervisor Institution EU State
1 Characterization of carbohydrate complexity along the GI tract Hans Wandall 
University of Copenhagen (UCPH) DK
2 The impact of carbohydrate complexity on host-microbe interaction Sina Bartfeld
Technische Universitat Berlin (TUB) DE
3 Cross-tissue organoid immune cell integration and function Birgit Sawitzki Charité  Universitaetsmedizin Berlin (CHAR) DE
4 Automation of PDO models in microphysiological systems Eva Dehne TissUse (TissUse) DE
5 Building gut architecture Silvia Mihăilă
Utrecht Universiteit (UU) NL
6 An 3D platform to model gut-stroma interactions Cristina Barrias
Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde da Universidade do Porto (i3S) PT
7 Gut on a chip for IBD research Dorota Kurek Mimetas (MIM) NL
8 Gastric cancer PDOs as model for personalized T-cell targeted immune cell therapy Hans Wandall University of Copenhagen (UCPH) DK
9 Gastric cancer organoids as model for personalized cancer therapy Celso Reis
Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde da Universidade do Porto (i3S) PT
10 The ethics and law of GI models
link to euraxess
Søren Holm /
Heidi Beate Bentzen
University of Oslo (UiO) NO
11 ECP preconditioning to reverse trained immunity in kidney transplantation Roger Geiger Università della Svizzera italiana (IRB) CH

Funded by the European Union under Grant Agreement 101119911.
Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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