Predoctoral researcher

Last application date
Aug 23, 2019 12:07
GE35 - Department of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics
Employment category
Research staff group 1
Limited duration
Master of Medicine, Master of Science in Bioscience Engineering, Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences, Master of Science in Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences
Occupancy rate
Vacancy Type
Research staff

Job description

A position is available in the research team on heritable thoracic aortic diseases (HTAD) at Ghent University, supervised by Prof. Dr. Julie De Backer , Dr. Patrick Sips and Dr. Laura Muiño Mosquera (, for a highly motivated, driven researcher with a strong interest in genetics, cardiovascular disease, and translational research. The diagnosis and prognosis of patients with rare cardiovascular genetic diseases has significantly improved over the last few decades thanks to the advances in DNA sequencing technologies and improvement in diagnostic and treatment options. Nevertheless, due to the rarity of the diseases as well as the clinical variability, the ability to provide an individualized medical risk assessment and optimal clinical management, remains challenging. Each subject hosts a range of genetic and environmental modifying factors, whose nature and impact remain unknown. In order to address these issues, within the framework of our focus on HTAD, you will use existing preclinical models to test the cardiovascular effects of suspected clinical and genetic modifiers of HTAD. We will use Marfan syndrome (MFS) as prototype of HTAD. Next to the study of aortic disease, characteristic of MFS, we are interested in the study of myocardial disease (both dysfunction and arrhythmia). Concretely, you will have the opportunity to test the effect of gender and pregnancy on cardiovascular structure and function in a MFS mouse model. In a parallel approach, in collaboration with the Department of Telecommunications and Information Processing ( a machine learning algorithm will be developed to improve predictive models of cardiovascular complications of HTAD and MFS patients. You will be responsible to accurately and reproducibly process clinical data collected from our patient population in order to train the algorithm. Newly identified modifiers through this method, can be tested and validated in the mouse model and vice versa. The techniques used in this project include mouse echocardiography and electrophysiology analysis, immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, QPCR, and interpretation of patient data.

We offer:

  • a fully funded 4-year PhD fellowship (candidates will be encouraged to apply for FWO and BOF PhD grants).
  • participation in the rapidly evolving research area of precision medicine for genetic disorders.
  • the opportunity to work in a dynamic and interdisciplinary academic top-tier research environment with a strong link to the clinic and a broad range of expertise. • access to state-of-the-art research facilities.
  • the opportunity to benefit from the well-established PhD training program of the doctoral school at UGent.

Profile of the candidate

  • You obtained a Master of Medicine, Master of Science in Bioscience Engineering, Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences, Master of Science in Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences, or equivalent degree.
  • You have a strong interest in genetics and/or cardiovascular research with a drive to learn and adopt a variety of new techniques.
  • An excellent background in life sciences and experience with translational research is desirable.
  • You have (or are willing to obtain) a FELASA Category C certificate to work with laboratory animals.
  • You are ambitious, practically skillful, able to work in a team setting, and have strong analytical problem-solving skills (creative, critical, and open-minded).
  • You have excellent oral and written communication skills, and are proficient in English.
  • A basic level of Dutch is desirable but not mandatory.

How to apply

Applications including a CV with a description of research output and motivation letter should be sent electronically to

Top-ranked candidates will be invited for an interview (either on-site or via Skype) in the first two weeks of September. Starting date will be determined in agreement with the candidate.