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PhD candidate, Computational modelling for drug safety prediction

The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR) is looking for a PhD candidate, Computational modelling for drug safety prediction

3 maanden geleden


Einsteinweg, Leiden, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht


Human exposure to new chemicals and drugs can result in adverse outcomes, and we urgently need strategies that can predict such failure. This PhD project is part of the Dutch NWA programme ‘Virtual Human Platform for Safety Assessment’ (VHP4Safety), which aims to deliver a platform to determine the safety of chemicals and pharmaceuticals for human health based solely on human biology. By integrating innovations in data science, human tissue culture models and transition management, VHP4Safety will spearhead the transition to animal-free safety assessment. One of the building blocks of the envisioned platform consists of ‘quantitative Adverse Outcome Pathways’ (qAOPs), which describe the quantitative relationship between subsequent molecular and tissue-level events that occur in response to compounds over time and/or with increasing dose. The PhD student will be responsible for construction of mechanistic mathematical models that represent such qAOPs (e.g., differential equation models). Experimental data from public resources and acquired by collaborators in the project that represent ‘key events’ will be integrated into the qAOPs. Together with consortium partners, the qAOPs will be coupled to other building blocks within the platform such as physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models. Jointly, these building blocks will deliver a novel approach for risk assessment.


  • Master's degree in a mathematical or computational discipline, preferably in computational biology or computational toxicology;
  • Strong interest or experience in biological/toxicological questions;
  • Experience with analysis of data sets (e.g., imaging, gene expression);
  • Proficient in spoken and written English;
  • An independent and creative team player.


We offer a full-time 1 year term position for initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary ranges from € 2.395,- to € 3.061,- 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.

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.

Diversity and work-life balance
Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups. LACDR is a highly diverse institute, in culture, background, and gender. We stand for excellence in a caring Institute. We wish to reflect society in all aspects, as we believe that this improves the dynamics in our organization. Therefore, we support and understand the need for a work/life/family balance and consequent varying working hours and places. We believe that doing good science is fun, and goes hand in hand with a friendly culture. In the Netherlands, a maternity allowance is standard for 16 weeks. Child care is available at and near the Bio Science Park.

Additional information

Enquiries can be made to Dr. Joost Beltman, email j.b.beltman@lacdr.leidenuniv.nl.