PhD position, Epidemiology of Metabolism Disrupting Compounds

Closing Date
WorkplaceAntwerpen, Flemish Region, Belgium


PhD position, Epidemiology of Metabolism Disrupting Compounds - 2019BAPFFBDEF169

Job description

We are looking for an enthusiastic and creative researcher to strengthen our research group. Your work will be part of a European research project funded under the H2020 research programme of the EU, i.e. the GOLIATH project : Generation Of Novel, Integrated and Internationally Harmonised Approaches for Testing Metabolism Disrupting Compounds (MDCs).

MDCs are natural and anthropogenic chemicals that have the ability to promote metabolic changes that can ultimately result in obesity, diabetes and/or fatty liver in humans. The GOLIATH project will generate the world’s first integrated approach to testing and assessment (IATA) specifically tailored to MDCs.

You will summarize the literature on occurrence and health effects of MDCs to enable prioritization of testing schemes. Based on outcomes from the testing schemes, you will validate these findings in ongoing birth cohort studies (e.g., YOUTH and FLEHS). You will investigate changes in metabolic outcome parameters (anthropometric measures, concentrations of hormones) in relation to concentrations of suspected and known metabolic disruptors in biological matrices. You will unravel the molecular pathways that connect chemical exposure to outcome through the analysis of -omics data (transcriptome, epigenome, metabolome).

You will work at the cross boundaries of Environmental Health Sciences and Molecular Biology. You will have the opportunity to meet and collaborate with high level international researchers. You will be based both at Utrecht University in The Netherlands, and at the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) in Belgium. You will publish the findings as papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals. These papers will form the basis of your PhD thesis.


Candidates should have a Master's degree and have a strong interest in Environmental Science, Epidemiology, and/or Molecular Biology. They should be eager to meta-analyse existing data and work and explore large datasets. Especially candidates with an interest in crossing disciplinary boundaries are encouraged to apply. Experience in Environmental Epidemiology or working with -omics data is a strength. The candidate should be able to work independently and have good verbal and written communication skills in English.


We offer a temporary appointment (1.0 FTE) for the duration of 1 year. In case of a good performance, extending the employment is one of the possibilities. The gross salary starts with ¤2,325 per month in the first year and increases to ¤2.972 per month in the third year of employment (scale P according to the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities) for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end allowance of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). Here you'll find more information about working at Utrecht University .

About the organization

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University , the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine has a unique position in the Netherlands. Not only is this the only institution where veterinarians are trained, researchers are also working together on innovative scientific research. In addition, the Faculty provides specialist clinical care in the largest academic veterinary hospital in Europe. Thanks to this position, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is a point of contact for all veterinary matters, both nationally and increasingly internationally. The Faculty employs approximately 900 veterinarians, scientists and support staff and counts 1.500 students.

The project will be performed within the Environmental Epidemiology Division of the Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS). IRAS is an inter-facultary Research Institute within the Faculties of Veterinary Medicine and Medicine, of Utrecht University. Its mission is to provide education and research on the human and environmental health risks of exposure to potentially harmful agents in the environment where research takes places within the domains Toxicology, Environmental Epidemiology and Veterinary Public Health. The position is funded by the EU and will be linked to the Utrecht Exposome Hub.

VITO is an independent Flemish research organisation in the area of cleantech and sustainable development. Our goal? To accelerate the transition to a sustainable world. High costs put our health system under pressure. How do we prevent disease in a personalized health care? VITO is developing new applications, measurement methods and biomarkers aimed at preventive health care, health management and preventing disease. The project is performed by the Environment & Health team. Our Environment & Health research aims to identify factors that influence disease risks and promote primary prevention and a healthy life. We focus on the understanding of multiple external influences from the environment and lifestyle on biological responses and health effects.

Additional information

Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from Prof. Dr. Roel Vermeulen (r.c.h.vermeulen [at] uu[.]nl) or Dr. Sylvie Remy (sylvie.remy [at] vito[.]be).

Applications must be submitted online and should include a letter of motivation (in which the title of the project, ′GOLIATH′, is clearly stated), a curriculum vitae and contact details of at least two references.

The application deadline is


In your application, please refer to
and reference  JobID 2047.

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