Do you want to work in an international consortium, investigating depression-cardiovascular disease comorbidity using a complex system approach?


Role of the immune system in depression-cardiovascular disease comorbidity

  • 36 hours
  • Salary : 2495 to 3196 euro
  • Apply

Your challenge

Per March 1 2021, we have a vacancy for a PhD student on the TO_Aition project. TO_Aition is an EU-Horizon2020 funded Consortium studying comorbidity of depressive disorder and cardiovascular disease (CVD). The entire consortium will address the overarching hypothesis that immune-metabolic dysregulation, occurring as a result of genetic, lifestyle and environmental risk factors ‘training’ innate immunity, drives low grade systemic inflammation leading to the development of CVD-depression multimorbidities. This hypothesis will be tested by using unique longitudinal cohorts (with >15 years of follow-up) and biobanks containing comprehensive clinical (including mental), demographic, biochemical and biological information, as well as extensive genomic, epigenomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, lipidomic, metabolomic and microbiomic data. These will be explored with systems biology approaches and artificial intelligence methodologies to uncover novel factors and pathways linked to immune-metabolic dysregulation and development of co/multimorbid disease, and shed light into the pathophysiological mechanisms involved.

The PhD student will be contributing to several TO_Aition tasks including 1) Defining the contribution of gender, life-style factors and socio-economic gradients in multimorbid depression-CVD outcomes and trajectories, using multi-omics data, and 2) evaluating new approaches based on Mendelian randomization combining gentic with other -omics (epigenomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, lipidomic, metabolomics and microbiomic) data in order to delineate causal pathways at the root of the of comorbidity of depressive disorder and cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Your tasks will include:

  • set-up and plan studies in collaboration with other TO_Aition researchers
  • analyse multi-omics and longitudinal data to answer TO_Aition research questions
  • writing and publishing scientific manuscripts and other reports on study results
  • present and disseminate research results at (international) conferences

This work will result in a PhD thesis based in international, peer-reviewed publications. Training in research and transferable skills are part of the PhD trajectory.

Your profile

We are looking for an enthusiastic and ambitious researcher with a strong motivation of doing a doctorate. You have a strong interest in multiplex disease network/systems biology and application of big data analytical approaches.

  • Either a strong numerate background (i.e. a Master’s degree in computer science, mathematics, physics, (medical or bio) informatics or technology, engineering, or related discipline) with an affinity for psychiatric/brain disorders, OR, a Master’s degree in health sciences, psychology, neuroscience, genetics, biology, or related field with proven skills in programming & statistics;
  • You have excellent statistical and strong computer programming skills (experience with R software and Linux highly valued);
  • You have excellent communication skills in English (written and verbal);
  • You have ability to work independently, but are also a pleasant team player able to work with people from different backgrounds.

Your work environment

The department of psychiatry of Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc, and mental health care institute GGZ inGeest collaboratively conduct research, education and academic patient care. The main focus is on depression and anxiety disorders, two common psychiatric disorders with high public health impact. This unique collaboration allows for translational research and produces high-quality research that bridges basic science and public health issues; it thereby connects two worlds that often remain separate from each other. Our main research questions are: What are causes and consequences of psychiatric disorders, and what are effective prevention and treatment options? To answer these central research questions, we conduct research that ranges from examining the role of DNA in psychiatric disorders to studies examining the societal impact of psychiatric disorders. In addition, the department also conducts clinical intervention studies researching the effects of (innovative) treatments.

Psychiatric research is embedded in two Amsterdam UMC research institutes: Amsterdam Public Health and Amsterdam Neuroscience. In this research area more than 150 persons from different disciplines (e.g. psychiatry, psychology and health science) collaborate. Visit our department’s website for more info.

Working at Amsterdam UMC means working in an inspiring and professional environment where development is encouraged in every respect. We offer you ample opportunity for development, deepening and broadening, additional training and a place to grow!

We offer

Salary Scale PHD: 2495 tot 3196 euro gross when employed full-time (depending on qualifications and experience).

In addition we offer:

  • Additional benefits include an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday pay.
  • Pension is accrued at the ABP. VUmc contributes a large part of the premium (70%).
  • In addition to excellent accessibility by public transport, we reimburse 75% of your OV travel costs (commuting costs).
  • We also provide you with the opportunity to follow further training and development.

For more information about our employment conditions, please visit our website.

For Dutch citizens it is mandatory to provide a VOG (Verklaring Omtrent Gedrag).

Additional information

The first round of interviews will be held on January 7th & 8th in the afternoon. We kindly request you already account for this on your calendar. We would like to start at March 1st 2021.

Information and application

Don’t hesitate to call us!

If you’re interested about this position, you can contact Femke Lamers or dr. Yuri Milaneschi, via telephone number 020 444 8704.

If you need more information about the application procedure, contact Brend de Jong, corporate recruiter at 020 444 8704.

You can apply till 13 December 2020 by using the below link.

Apply online

Acquisition based on this vacancy is not appreciated.

Keywords: Vacature, Research, Master, Computer science, Mathematics, Physics, (medical or bio) informatics, Technology, engineering, Health sciences, Psychology, Neuroscience, Genetics, Biology, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland