PhD student “Metabolic resilience in overweight individuals” (V50.3155)

PhD student “Metabolic resilience in overweight individuals”

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) has the following vacancy for a PhD student “Metabolic resilience in overweight individuals" in the research group of Prof. Natal van Riel in the Computational Biology group at the Department of Biomedical Engineering.
Position
PhD-student
Department(s)
Department of Biomedical Engineering
FTE
1,0
Date off
28/02/2018
Reference number
V50.3155

Job description

Project description

TU Eindhoven – together with Maastricht University (UM), Wageningen University (WUR), and University of Amsterdam, Academic Medical Center (AMC) and the companies Caelus Health and Unilever R&D Vlaardingen - will start a project to study metabolic resilience in overweight individuals by developing a large collection of personalized, dynamic models. The project is funded by the NWO Complexity in Health and Nutrition program.

Overweight and obesity are refractory conditions of human physiology. By using personalized computer models of human metabolism understanding is obtained about the dynamics of the ‘obese system’ and whether the effects of changes in nutrition and gut microbiota on metabolic health can be predicted.

The project hires a PhD student at TU Eindhoven (dr. Natal van Riel) and a post-doc at WUR (dr. Lydia Afman), both working on computational modeling.

Job description

The PhD candidate at the TU/e will develop and apply dynamic models of human metabolic physiology. Data from our partners is used to calibrate (parameter estimation) and further develop the differential equation models of post-prandial metabolism. Data from 317 overweight individuals is available, which has been obtained in response to a mixed meal challenge test at baseline and after diet interventions. The data include time course metabolomics of different classes of metabolites and time-series measurements of hormones in blood plasma. The models are applied to study metabolic regulation and adaptation under dynamic physiological conditions. Methods from dynamical system theory will be used to study hypotheses about robustness and transitions after changes in nutrition.

Tasks and responsibilities: 

  • Perform research in an interdisciplinary team of international scientists.
  • Develop dynamic models of postprandial human metabolism.
  • Apply these models to quantitative measurements from five different human interventions studies, including weight loss diets.
  • Produce software tools to enable use in the wider scientific community.
  • Publish findings in peer-reviewed journals and present at international scientific conferences.

Job requirements

We are looking for high-level candidates with an MSc degree in engineering and life sciences (biomedical engineering, biotechnology, bioengineering) with specialization in computational modelling, computational biology, dynamical system theory, or equivalent. He or she should be interested in quantitative methods, modelling and data integration with affinity for human metabolism and its regulation.

The candidates should have:

  • A MSc degree in engineering and life sciences, such as biomedical engineering, biotechnology, bioengineering, dynamic systems and control, or equivalent.
  • A strong education track-record that includes topics such as dynamic modelling, systems biology, computational biology, system theory, or equivalent.
  • Strong demonstrable analytical skills.
  • A proven ability to write computer code and organise data.
  • Strong communication skills, including excellent proficiency in English (spoken and written).
  • Affinity for working in an interdisciplinary and highly international environment.
  • Good organisational skills.

Conditions of employment

We offer:

  • A challenging job at a dynamic and ambitious university.
  • Support with your personal development and career planning.
  • A full-time employment for 4 years. Gross monthly salaries are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement of the Dutch Universities (CAO NU), increasing from € 2222 per month initially, to € 2840 in the fourth year.
  • An attractive package of fringe benefits (including excellent work facilities, end of the year allowance, and sport facilities).

Information and application

More information can be obtained from:

Application

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