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PhD candidate for the project Personalized prevention: synergistic effects of phytochemicals” M/V 1,0 fte

Project description Fruits and vegetables are important components of a healthy diet, and it is thought that in particular the non-nutrient phytochemicals are …

3 maanden geleden


Robert Schumandomein, Maastricht, Limburg
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
36 - 40 uur
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand


Project description

Fruits and vegetables are important components of a healthy diet, and it is thought that in particular the non-nutrient phytochemicals are responsible for several beneficial health effects. The number of human dietary intervention studies investigating complex mixtures of phytochemicals is relatively small, but showing promising results. It has also been demonstrated that individuals may respond differently to dietary changes and that people with specific genetic characteristics may benefit to a larger extent from certain dietary components than others.

In order to understand the molecular mechanisms behind the potentially synergistic interactions between these compounds, more combinations of different vegetables and fruits containing different complex mixtures of phytochemicals should be evaluated in humans at the molecular level. This includes the evaluation of phenotypic markers of disease risks as well as whole genome gene expression responses. Information on genetic variability may explain why subjects might respond differently to dietary interventions, and will identify subgroups which benefit more from a particular combination of phytochemicals. This information can be used for the development of personalized disease prevention strategies based on specific combinations of phytochemicals that are expected to have the highest potential to prevent or lower disease risks.

In this PhD project, we plan to evaluate the health impact of food products containing various combinations of bioactive compounds from fruits and vegetables, in a human dietary intervention study, and taking genetic variability between participants into consideration. You will carry out this human dietary intervention and will be responsible for preparation and conduction of the study, including the inclusion and instruction of subjects, sampling of biological material, analyses of genetic polymorphisms and gene expression responses, and communication with the medical ethical committee and the clinical trial center Maastricht.

The study is part of a larger project which aims to develop an innovative food concept that allows the combination in one food product of carefully selected mixtures of phytochemicals originating from vegetables and fruits that have been proven to induce beneficial health effects in humans and for which the applicability in personalized nutrition has been demonstrated. You will collaborate with different partners located at the Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo. As a PhD student you will publish scientific journal articles and defend a PhD thesis after 4 years. You will present your work at local, national and international conferences. You may provide guidance to BSc, MSc interns working at our department and will interact with other researchers.


What we seek

We are looking for a PhD-candidate with the following required and preferred qualifications:


- Relevant Biology, Biomedical Sciences or equivalent MSc;

- Interest in the biochemical and functional aspects of nutrition;

- Excellent communication skills and fluency in English;

- A project and result-oriented way of working with a planned and pro-active approach;

- Ability to work independent, but also to collaborate with different parties in the project;

- Ability to work with human volunteers in the setting of a human dietary intervention study.


- Experience in molecular biological techniques, including PCR analysis of genetic polymorphisms and gene-expression analysis using microarray technology;

- Experience with gene expression data analysis;

- Advanced skills in bio-statistics and –informatics.


The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website http://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl.

Temporary employment for the period of max 4 years. Monthly salary is € 2.222,- gross/ month in year 1 up to € 2.840,- in year 4.

Additional information

Information and applications

Prof. Theo de Kok, Department of Toxicogenomics, t.dekok@maastrichtuniversity.nl telephone: +31 43 3881091, or dr. Simone van Breda, Department of Toxicogenomics, s.vanbreda@maastrichtuniversity.nl telephone: +31 43 3881218.