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  3. PhD candidate, systems biology / complex networks

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PhD candidate, systems biology / complex networks

The Faculty of Science, Leiden Institute of Physics is looking for a PhD candidate, systems biology / complex networks (1.0 FTE).

meer dan een jaar geleden


Begijnhof, Leiden, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand


The groups of Dr. S. Semrau (Physics department, cell observatory, www.semraulab.com ) and Dr. D. Garlaschelli (Lorentz Institute, www.lorentz.leidenuniv.nl/~garlaschelli/ ) are looking for a recent graduate who is interested in a co-supervised project at the interface of systems biology and complex network theory.

Stem cells hold great promise for biomedical applications, ranging from the regeneration of diseased tissues to personalized drug screening. To realize this potential, precisely defined cell types have to be generated. The PhD project aims to unravel the fundamental molecular mechanisms that underlie the in vitro differentiation of embryonic stem cells. In particular, we want to understand how complex gene regulatory networks lead to defined and stable cell types.

You will develop new methods to analyze time series of single-cell gene expression measurements (single-cell RNA-seq and single-molecule FISH) in differentiating stem cells. Using this dynamic data, you will propose new mathematical approaches to build gene regulatory models based on single-cell correlations. A quantitative understanding of the system based on network theory will allow you to devise novel ways to engineer precisely defined cell types. While the project is intended to be mostly analytical and computational, there will be plenty of opportunities to develop experimental skills.


  • You have a master’s degree in one of these disciplines: bioinformatics, computational biology, systems biology, biophysics or related;
  • You show a strong interest in computational / systems biology as well as mathematical modeling of complex networks;
  • You have strong analytical skills;
  • You have experience with programming (R (preferred), Matlab, Python, C/C++ etc.) and the analysis of gene expression data;
  • You are interested in learning stem cell culture and basic molecular biology techniques (cloning, transfection etc.);
  • You are proficient in spoken and written English, have good communication and writing skills and are interested in working in a highly interdisciplinary team of experimentalists, theorists and computational scientists;
  • You are independent, creative and have team spirit.


We offer a one year term position with the possibility of three-year renewal after a positive evaluation. Salary range from € 2,222,- to € 2,840,- 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. More at www.workingat.leiden.edu/.

All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science www.graduateschools.leidenuniv.nl. 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.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Additional information

Enquiries or any questions about the procedure can be made to Dr. S. Semrau, email Semrau@physics.leidenuniv.nl, or to Dr. D. Garlaschelli, email Garlaschelli@lorentz.leidenuniv.nl.

If you are interested, please send by email, no later than 30 November 2017, a letter of motivation including 3 people that can be approached as references , your transcripts and a CV including your research experience to Dr. S. Semrau (semrau@physics.leidenuniv.nl) or Dr. D. Garlaschelli (garlaschelli@lorentz.leidenuniv.nl). The project has to begin before March 1st, 2018. Please only apply if you are able to start before that date.


Leiden is a typical university city, hosting the oldest university in the Netherlands (1575). The University permeates the local surroundings; University premises are scattered throughout the city, and the students who live and study in Leiden give the city its relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere.

Leiden University is one of Europe's foremost research universities. This prominent position gives our graduates a leading edge in applying for academic posts and for functions outside academia.

Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are driven by curiosity to expand fundamental knowledge and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, computer science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 1,300 staff and almost 4,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together. For more information, see www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/science.