A challenging PhD position combining genetics, bioinformatics and neurobiology. Your work will contribute to uncovering molecular mechanisms in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
About the position
A complete 4 year PhD focusing on the genetic factors and molecular mechanisms that underly a terminal neurodegenerative disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Genetics plays a key role in ALS, both in determining who gets the disease and how severely the disease progresses within an individual patient. Work by the project supervisors has contributed to several impactful discoveries of ALS genes. However, for most ALS patients, the underlying causal risk factors have not yet been identified and we believe that new approaches are needed to resolve this.
Within this project, you will work to apply new bioinformatic methods to the largest collection of genetics data from ALS patients in the world. These bioinformatic methods will span a range of data mining techniques, machine learning (supervised/unsupervised), network analyses and pathway analyses. You will also work to incorporate your results within new online tools to help support future work by other ALS research groups. Importantly, this project strongly emphasizes a capacity to think deeply about what your results really mean at a biological level, and to use genetic findings to generate new hypotheses that the project will test by analyzing separate biological readouts from patients and laboratory models.
We offer a temporary position (1.0 FTE) for one year, starting Jan 1, 2023. Upon a positive performance, the appointment will be extended for three further years.
The project will be performed at the UMC-U brain centre, as a collaboration between the departments of neurology and translational neuroscience. You will work as part of the ALS centre, a world leading facility for multi-disciplinary ALS research. You will also work as part of project MinE, a global ALS genetics consortium coordinated by one of the project supervisors. Utrecht university is among the top universities in Europe (1st in Netherlands, 13th in Europe, 49th in world), while the Brain division is among the top 5 in Europe for the selected research areas.
You are an ambitious and driven candidate looking to apply their own initiative and creativity in high impact research. Computational work will dominate this project, but you will also contribute to relevant wetlab experiments.
We require MSc level experience in neuroscience, molecular biology, bioinformatics, genetics or a related scientific discipline. You do not need to be an expert in bioinformatics or any specific techniques outlined in the project description. However, your cv will need to provide clear evidence that supports both an interest and track record in performing computational analyses of biological datasets. Experience in R programming and human genetics data is highly desirable. At least some background in molecular biology, systems biology and/or neuroscience will be essential.
Get in contact
J.H. Veldink / K. Kenna