Maastricht University – PhD candidate in metabolic modelling and machine learning (1.0 FTE) at the Maastricht Centre for Systems Biology

Job description

The Maastricht Centre for Systems Biology (MaCSBio) aims to integrate biological data from different empirical domains using multi-scale modelling and machine learning approaches. One of MaCSBio’s research lines focusses on systems medicine of chronic diseases, with the aim of developing more personalized preventive strategies for obesity-related chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer.

Within this research line, we are currently looking for a PhD candidate that strengthens our research activities in mathematical modelling and machine learning approaches to gain a better understanding of blood glucose control and its relation to physical activity and wellbeing.

The new PhD student will be working within a large interdisciplinary Top Institute Food and Nutrition (TIFN) (www.tifn.nl/) program entitled ‘Glucose control in relation to Mental And Physical Performance and well-beING (Glucose (M)apping)’ that aims to explore inter-individual differences in blood glucose control, its relation to perceivable benefits, as well as possibilities for personalized dietary interventions at the systems level. In order to achieve these goals, the program will combine a human dietary intervention study with detailed measurements of glucose control via continuous glucose monitoring devices and deep phenotyping.

The main tasks of the PhD student will be the multivariate analysis of the generated data using machine learning approaches as well as the integration of the data into dynamic glucose models for estimation of personalized model parameters. More specifically, the idea is to develop a novel “hybrid” approach, which combines mechanistic models with machine learning approaches, utilizing the complementary strengths of both methods. This approach can evaluate the role of individual factors on a more systematic level and determine gaps in our current understanding of the glycemic response to a meal with a specific composition and its relation to physical activity and wellbeing.

Are you an enthusiastic person who would like to work on an ambitious project at the interface between technology and biology within the young and dynamic environment of the Maastricht Centre for Systems Biology? Then apply via the online portal!

Requirements

Our ideal candidate has:

  • A MSc in Biomathematics, Biostatistics, Biomedical Engineering, Bioinformatics, Systems Biology or equivalent (required);
  • Experience with mathematical modelling (e.g. ODE, PDE models) and/or machine learning methods (e.g. elastic net, neural networks, random forests, self-organizing maps) (required);
  • Excellent data analysis skills (required);
  • Proficiency in the English language (required);
  • Strong interest in working at the interface between biology and technology;
  • Excellent communication skills;
  • Programming experience in R and Matlab, Java, Python or equivalent languages.

Employer 

Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 16,300 students and 4,300 employees. Reflecting the university’s strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.

Department – Maastricht Centre for Systems Biology (MaCSBio)

The Maastricht Centre for Systems Biology (MaCSBio) is one of the youngest research centres of Maastricht University. It is an interfaculty research institute which is part of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience (FPN), and the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Science (FHML). MaCSBio currently has two research lines in Systems Medicine of Chronic Diseases and Computational Biology of Neural and Genetic Systems. We are rapidly building up our systems biology research and, where possible, expanding to new empirical domains. In addition to the postdocs and PhD-candidates currently working at MaCSBio, we aim to train a new generation of systems biology researchers by offering courses in several Bachelor programmes and a Master programme in Systems Biology.

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