Universiteit Leiden

nl en


PhD candidate, Computational modelling for drug safety prediction

Wetenschappelijke functies, PhD-posities
Omvang (fte)
Geplaatst op
6 juli 2021
22 augustus 2021 Vacature gesloten

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

Key responsibilities
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.

Selection criteria

  • 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.           

Our organisation
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 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. For more information, see the website of the Faculty of Science.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is diverse, ranging from artificial intelligence, computer science, mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,300 staff and almost 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.

The Beltman lab (Image-based Computational Biology) is involved in multidisciplinary research at the interface of mathematics, computation and biomedicine. For more information see our website.

Beltman lab is part of the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR). Our institute is a centre of excellence for multidisciplinary research on drug discovery and development. Leiden University consistently ranks within the top-20 world-wide within the subject-based QS Ranking in Pharmacology and Pharmacy. At LACDR, we develop innovative scientific concepts in fundamental and translational research underlying the discovery and optimization of drugs, and personalised medicines. We aim to optimise the route to novel drugs that are both efficacious and safe, and therefore our research focuses on drug discovery and safety, bio-therapeutics, and systems biomedicine and pharmacology. State-of-the-art expertise and infrastructures ensure that we are strategically positioned in (inter)national collaborations, thus further strengthening the development of novel concepts and their application in a clinical and industry environment. More information about LACDR you find on the website.

Leiden University is one of Europe's foremost research universities. Leiden is a lively and beautiful city with a central location in Europe, at only 17 minutes from Schiphol International Airport. It is a very international city where almost everybody speaks English, candidates need not be afraid of the language barrier. Leiden is a typical historic 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. Today, with some 27,000 students, 5,500 staff, 16 Nobel prizes, more than 100 nationalities and a budget of more than 550 million Euros, it is one of the largest comprehensive universities in Europe. This prominent position gives our graduates a leading edge in applying for academic posts and for functions outside academia.

Terms and conditions 
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.

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

To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to Dr. Joost Beltman, email j.b.beltman@lacdr.leidenuniv.nl and Marjolijn Lugthart, email m.j.l.lugthart@lacdr.leidenuniv.nl.  Please ensure that you include the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number:

  • A detailed curriculum vitae;
  • A cover letter explaining your motivation, background, and qualifications for the position;
  • Copies of diplomas and a list of your courses taken and grades obtained;
  • Contact details of at least two persons who can be contacted for reference (and have agreed to be contacted).

Only applications received no later than 22 August 2021 can be considered.

Deze website maakt gebruik van cookies.  Meer informatie.