PhD candidate at the Department of Clinical Genetics

Research / Academic


During the course of this PhD research, you will investigate the effect of early environment on preimplantation and prenatal development. In line with DOHaD hypothesis (a.k.a. Barker’s hypothesis), you will explore if the early environment (nutrition), including both preimplantation and intrauterine environment, alter cellular states with subsequent impact on health and disease at later stages of the development. Specifically, you will profile different molecular layers, namely genome, methylome and transcriptome, of single cells derived from synthetic blastocyst-stage mouse embryos (blastoids) as well as day-3 and day-6 preimplantation human embryos. You will then investigate the interplay and connectivity between these layers. In addition, we will recruit IVF-conceived singletons from different IVF culture media and early and late splitting monozygotic (identical) twins, and profile their placenta and cord blood (epi)genomes (and transcriptomes). Moreover, you will explore the correlation of these molecular layers with clinical outcomes, such as birth weight and growth during postnatal development.

Our offer

  • A versatile and challenging PhD position in an international and interdisciplinary environment, with various opportunities to broaden your knowledge and expertise.

  • The laboratory works in close collaboration with the research groups at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dr. Nicolas Rivron of the MERLN and Hubrecht institutes, as well as Dr. Christian Gilissen and Dr. Alexander Hoischen of the Department of Human Genetics, RadboudUMC, Nijmegen.

  • For the epidemiological aspects of the project you will work with the Department of Complex Genetics, Maastricht University.

  • Funding is available for a 4-year position according to the terms of employment of Maastricht University.

  • Starting Date: as soon as practical.





  • M.Sc. in Life Sciences or Medicine, preferably in Molecular Genetics or Bioinformatics


  • A scientific mindset, critical thinking capacity and a strong interest in computational biology

  • Excellent communication skills and the ability of working in a team

  • Experience with high-throughput molecular assays including next-generation sequencing is a plus

  • Experience with programming languages and object-oriented programming is a plus, but not absolutely required.

  • Experience with machine learning is an advantage, but not a prerequisite.


Salary Benefits:

The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website .

Work Hours:

36 - 40 hours per week


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