Phd Student Department of Toxicogenomics

Maastricht University (UM)
April 20 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Project description

Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) represent major complications in the pharmaceutical therapy of patients. Such reactions may occur in various organs including the gastrointestinal systems. As the prediction of ADRs by animal experiments is poor, it is essential to create alternative approaches that allow a better prediction of drug toxicity based on improved understanding of the mechanistic basis of such reactions. However, the availability of data from either human or animal studies on drug induced molecular responses and toxicity in the gastrointestinal tract is rather limited. Therefore, expansion of clinical data from patients receiving different pharmaceutical therapies is needed along with more detailed molecular information from advanced 3D gastrointestinal cell cultures and microtissues. Gene expression responses and markers of gastrointestinal toxicity established after exposure to preselected compounds can be used to build a quantitative systems toxicology (QST) model aiming to advance the drug development process with respect to drug safety.


In this PhD position which is part of a larger EU project (TransQST) you will focus on:


  • The evaluation of drug-induced adverse responses of  preselected drugs, including chemotherapeutics and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), in cultured human organoid models that have been developed only recently;

  • Organizing the collection of in particular colonic biopsy material of patients treated with similar medication  in collaboration with the clinic;

  • Establishing drug-induced transcriptomics signatures by applying global, high-throughput transcriptomic and in-depth quantitative RNA-sequencing;

  • The generated data will be used to populate, in collaboration with project partners, a multi-scale QST model for intestinal toxicity.

    As a PhD student you will publish scientific journal articles and defend a PhD thesis after 4 years. You will present your work at local, national and international conferences. You may provide guidance to BSc, MSc interns working at our department and will interact with other researchers.


What we seek

A candidate with the following required and preferred qualifications:


  • Relevant Biology, Biomedical Sciences or equivalent MSc;

  • A project and result-oriented way of working with a planned approach;

  • Ability to work in a multidisciplinary team of physicians, physicists, computer scientists and other medical and non-medical personnel;

  • Excellent communicative skills and fluency in English.



  • Experience with molecular biological techniques, preferably with advanced cell-culturing techniques;

  • Experience with microarray or mRNAsequencing gene-expression data analysis;

  • Experience with statistical data analysis and bioinformatics;

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess