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PhD Candidate Translational Bioinformatics and Nutritional interventions

Are you the talented and motivated PhD candidate who will help develop novel molecular response biomarkers in human lifestyle and nutritional intervention studies? Then please read on!

6 maanden geleden


Albinusdreef, Leiden, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
36 uur
€ 2422 - € 3103 per maand


Older individuals respond in very diverse ways to interventions aimed at stimulating healthy ageing. Many lifestyle and nutritional studies have been performed in the past years and have collected molecular data to record the response to such exposures. In a public private initiative of eight research centres and nine private partners (VOILA: Vitality Oriented Innovations for Ageing Society), we aim to bring this data together and explore strategies to generate novel dynamic response markers from the joint analysis of such data to understand and predict the differences in the way older people respond to interventions. You will work on large molecular data resources in a team with students and focus on developing datamining methods for the identification of patients at-risk of accelerated ageing. In addition, you will disseminate your work by writing scientific manuscripts and presenting your research at international conferences. The combination of this work will get you a PhD title.


You hold a MSc degree Bioinformatics, Statistics, Biology or Nutrition. Experience of techniques derived from data sciences, including cluster analysis, dimensionality reduction, feature selection, and predictive modelling are required. You must be familiar with languages such as R or Python, and with basic epidemiological concepts. Knowledge of transcriptome, metabolome or proteome analysis and genetic associations studies is favoured but not required. You enjoy gaining, combining and translating knowledge from multiple fields and have an optimistic and kind nature.


You work in an employment contract of 36 hours per week. Your placement should lead to a PhD thesis and is for a maximum duration of four years. Your salary is € 2,422 gross per month in the first year, progressing to a maximum of € 3,103 gross per month in the fourth year, based on a full time position (scale PhD students of the Collective Labor Agreement for University Hospitals).

Additional information

Project information

The ambition of VOILA as a whole is to identify early signs of functional decline in seniors, attenuate such decline and restore body functions to allow seniors to increase the number of healthy years. The unique proposition of VOILA is that, instead of working on a single disease condition, the project focuses on overall physiological vulnerability associated with aging. VOILA will investigate new ‘biomarkers’, which allows assessment as to which seniors have the highest risk of accelerated ageing as well as an elevated frailty during medical interventions. In addition we investigate various life style interventions and how these influence the health status, metabolism, the immune system, the intestinal microbiota and the musculature of older individuals. Complementary, the identification and removal of senescent (‘rusty’) cells are being investigated. Applying timely interventions based on mechanistic understanding would attenuate diseases such as heart failure, dementia and certain cancers.

As a PhD candidate working in the section Molecular Epidemiology (www.molepi.nl) within the department of Biomedical Data Sciences, you will perform omcis-driven research into the molecular determinants and predictors of healthy ageing. Close collaboration will be with the Leiden Computational Biology Center (www.lcbc.nl), led by Prof. Reinders also head of the section of Pattern Recognition and Bioinformatics of the Delft University of Technology. At the WUR you will be working with Prof. L. de Groot for data interpretation and the background on nutrition. For this project you will develop and apply novel methodology for the integrative analysis of various types of high dimensional molecular data sources (genetics, transcriptomics, DNA-methylomics, metabolomics) measured in a diversity of intervention studies.

The project starts on the 1st of October 2019.

Contact: prof. Eline Slagboom, professor and head of the department, Department of Biomedical Data Sciences, section Molecular Epidemiology, telephone +31(0)71 526 97 30.