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Postdoc Computational Modeling for Drug Safety Prediction

Vacancy number
Job type
Academic staff
Hours (in fte)
External/ internal
Placed on
2 April 2024
Closing date
10 May 2024 Vacancy closed

Postdoc Computational Modeling for Drug Safety Prediction

Do you have a passion to understand how biological networks are influenced by chemicals or drugs? Are you an expert in the development of computational models, with the application in mind of comparing such models to real-world biological data? As part of our enthusiastic and diverse team of mathematicians/ data scientists/ biologists you will employ computational dynamical modelling approaches in order to support drug safety prediction. Within our team at the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR) we are looking to hire a postdoctoral researcher to develop such novel ways for drug safety prediction.

Project description and key responsibilities

Human exposure to chemicals and drugs can result in responses of biological pathways ultimately resulting in organ-specific toxicities, e.g., liver failure. We urgently need strategies that can predict such toxicities. The primary aim of this postdoctoral project is therefore to predict drug-induced toxicities by utilizing mathematical models of cellular networks involved in resolving molecular stress and models describing the kinetics of compounds of interest. The models will be based on and fitted to various experimental data quantifying gene expression and cellular responses. Ultimately, such data-driven mechanistic models will describe activity within stress pathways and predict in vivo adversity of chemicals based on this activity.

Key responsibilities

  • Process and analyse experimental data (e.g., imaging, gene expression) acquired by collaborators.
  • Develop computational models of compound kinetics and cellular responses.
  • Apply the developed computational models to the experimental data by parameter calibration.
  • Come up with model improvements and approaches to test resulting hypotheses.
  • Communicate with collaborators on obtained results and potential issues with data.
  • Train MSc and BSc students in computational research skills during courses and research projects.
  • Follow developments in the field by reading literature and participating in relevant conferences.
  • Publish in internationally renowned scientific journals.

Selection criteria

  • PhD degree in a mathematical or computational discipline, preferably in computational biology.
  • Strong interest in or experience with biological questions.
  • Strong affinity with collaboration in multi-disciplinary projects is essential.
  • Experience with analysis of large data sets (e.g., imaging, gene expression).
  • Experience with development of computational dynamical models such as differential equation models.
  • Proficient in spoken and written English.
  • Competitive publication record.
  • An independent and creative team player.

We offer

A fully funded one year postdoctoral position in the vibrant and top edge environment of the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research. The position is available from the summer of 2024 onwards.

You will be appointed in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. The salary ranges from € 3.226 - € 5.090 gross per month, depending on experience (pay scale 10, see table on website).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information, see the website.

Diversity and Inclusion
Fostering an inclusive community is a central element of the values and vision of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

As Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community, applications from members of underrepresented groups are especially welcomed. 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. Childcare is available at and near the Bio Science Park.

Where will you be working
You will be working in the division of Drug Discovery and Safety at the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR). You will be part of the Image-Based Computational Biology group (IBCB).

The Faculty of Science at Leiden University 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 committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity 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, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organized in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelors’ and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,300 staff and over 5,000 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.


Leiden University is one of Europe’s leading international research universities.

Thanks to its committed and inspired employees, the university enjoys a leading role in academic research and education. Leiden also scores very well every year in prominent rankings. This means that, to maintain our position, the bar is set very high. Regardless of the work you do at our university, you are always encouraged to broaden your horizons, develop your talents and reach your full potential. Will you become our newest colleague?

Do you have questions about this position?

Please contact Dr. Joost Beltman, Associate Professor, j.b.beltman@lacdr.leidenuniv.nl.

You can find more information about the faculty of Science at https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/science/about-faculty-of-science. For more information about working at Leiden university please visit https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/working-at.

Are you enthusiastic about this vacancy? We are looking forward to get to know you. To apply for this vacancy, please submit your application online via the blue button below.

The closing date is 10-05-2024. Please ensure that you include the following additional documents:

  • Motivation letter including a description of specific research interests related to the position;
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of publications;
  • Copies of diplomas;
  • Contact details of three persons who can be contacted for reference.

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