PhD student Epigenetics of childhood neurodevelopment

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: 11 Sep 2022

PhD student Epigenetics of childhood neurodevelopment
PhD student Epigenetics of childhood neurodevelopment
Published Deadline Location
yesterday 11 Sep Rotterdam

Job description
Your goal as a PhD student will be to discover the cell types and epigenetic changes that explain the link between the circumstances in the womb during prenatal development and subsequent neurodevelopment in childhood. To this end you will collect, process and culture cells obtained around birth, generate epigenomics data for example using DNA methylation arrays, and manage data on childhood ADHD and autistic symptoms. Specifically, you will be involved in two studies. First, the Twinlife Study ( ), an ongoing study of identical twins who share a single placenta. This placenta is frequently not equally shared, leading to an unequal distribution of resources during development, and a disparate birthweight despite the twins being genetically identical. This translates into differences in neurodevelopment in childhood. You will study epigenetic patterns in various tissues and cell types collected at birth, including cord blood cells and multipotent MSCs and link these to data on ADHD and autistic symptoms. Second, you will make use of large population cohort data, to compare epigenetic patterns between different neonatal tissues (cord blood vs heel-prick derived blood in the first week of life), and test which tissue is more predictive of neurodevelopmental outcomes (e.g. ADHD diagnosis in childhood). You will be embedded in a multidisciplinary team of cell biologists, epigeneticists, epidemiologists, psychologists and clinicians.
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • €3047—€4800 per month
  • Rotterdam View on Google Maps

Erasmus MC (University Medical Center Rotterdam)

  • MSc degree in biomedical sciences, life sciences, neurosciences or a related discipline
  • Practical experience with cell biology and cell culture.
  • Interest in epigenetic mechanisms and/or neurodevelopment.
  • Prior experience in data analysis using R is desirable (courses and support will be available)
  • Working well in a team and independently
  • Excellent writing and presenting skills
  • Proficiency in English is required
  • Proficiency in Dutch is preferable
  • Application letters without a personal statement of interest will not be considered
Being able to present a valid proof of identity, diploma's and/ or relevant registration are conditions for the appointment.
Conditions of employment
A 1-year contract will be offered at first, a 2.5 year extension will be offered on proven ability. There is flexibility in the starting date, with the earliest starting date being September 1st 2022.
The gross monthly salary amounts a maximum of € 4.800,- (scale 10), depending on your level of education and relevant experience and based on a full-time working week of 36 hours. The terms of employment are in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement for University Medical Centers (CAO UMC).
Erasmus MC
You will perform your research at both Erasmus MC and the Leiden University Medical Center. A healthy population and excellence in healthcare through research and education - this is what Erasmus MC stands for. Conducting groundbreaking work, pushing boundaries and leading the way in research, education, and healthcare. We are practical people with a high level of expertise, working hard to improve and renew the healthcare of today and the public health of tomorrow. You will be employed at the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology of Erasmus MC in the research group of dr. Charlotte Cecil. Her group focuses on cutting-edge, collaborative and interdisciplinary research at the interface of the biological and social sciences (inDEPTH Lab ).The Leiden University Medical Center continuously works on improving patient care by investing in groundbreaking research. You will be embedded in the Molecular Epidemiology section of the Department of Biomedical Data Sciences. A main goal of the department is to identify molecular profiles and biological processes that contribute to the understanding of complex diseases and aging. To achieve this, we work with state-of-the-art genomics technologies and advanced methods for data analysis in human biobanks and cell systems. You will perform your research on the twin study in Leiden in the group of prof. Bas Heijmans. He has a strong track record in the analysis of multi-omics data and studying the role of epigenetic mechanisms in the developmental origins of disease, for example in the context of the Dutch Hunger Winter. Both research groups provide a stimulating research environment with high-level facilities and an excellent international position which from an ideal starting-point for a PhD student. You will have to opportunity to present your work during (international) conferences and follow diverse courses to develop (transferable) skills.
Additional information
For more information about this position, please contact Dr Charlotte Cecil, e-mail: or Prof.dr. Bas Heijmans, e-mail: .

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Application procedure
For more information about this position, please contact Dr Charlotte Cecil, e-mail: or Prof.dr. Bas Heijmans, e-mail: .
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