UvA – PhD candidate in In Silico Clinical Trials for Acute Ischemic Stroke

The Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam is one of Europe’s foremost institutions of higher education and research in its chosen fields of specialization. It plays an active role in international science networks and collaborates with universities and industry. The faculty has approximately 2,000 students and 1,500 staff members spread over four departments and ten research institutes. Each institute has its own research programme, a substantial part of which is externally funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), the Dutch government, the EU and various private enterprises. The mission of the Informatics Institute is to perform curiosity driven and use-inspired fundamental research in Computer Science. The research in the institute involves complex information systems at large, with a focus on Collaborative, Data Driven, Computational and Intelligent Systems, all with a strong interactive component.

Project description

INSIST is a collaborative project, funded by the European Commission, where 9 laboratories from all over Europe, one medical device company and one pharmaceutical company collaborate. The main goal of INSIST is to realize in silico clinical stroke trials for biomedical products for treatment of acute ischemic stroke. Such an in silico clinical ischemic stroke trial consists of the generation of populations of virtual stroke patients, in silico models of treatments, and in silico models of the biophysiological aspects of the human response to stroke. Building on existing and emerging data and models INSIST will deliver (1) libraries of virtual populations of acute ischemic stroke patients and (2) validated reusable in silico models for thrombosis/thrombolysis, thrombectomy, microvascular perfusion, and brain tissue death and healing after stroke onset. We will validate these models and integrate all components into the INSIST in silico clinical stroke trials. INSIST will provide proof of concept by running and validation of in silico clinical stroke trials from the perspective of three participating stakeholders: pharmaceutical and device industry and health professionals. As PhD candidate, you will contribute in advancing in silico clinical trial methods in the field of acute ischemic stroke by simulating randomized controlled trials for novel acute ischemic stroke treatments. More information can be read in the Background paper on the Virtual Artery.

Within the Netherlands the University of Amsterdam, the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam and the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam participate in INSIST. As PhD candidate, you will be in the unique position to collaborate intensively with the other labs that participate within INSIST. You will have regular contacts with the Dutch partners, and will be encouraged to spent part of your time in other labs within the INSIST project, e.g. in Oxford, Moscow, Milano, or Geneva.

Job description

In close collaboration with a postdoctoral researcher, who will be recruited later in 2018, and embedded in a group of one postdoctoral researcher, three PhD candidates and one scientific programmer working on Computational Biomedicine within the Computational Science Lab, you will be working on several key aspects of in-silico clinical stroke trials. You will develop specific models in relation to brain perfusion (in collaboration with a lab in Oxford), models for thrombolysis (i.e. removing the clot using pharmaceuticals, in collaboration with labs in Geneva and Moscow), and virtual stroke populations (in collaboration with AMC and EMC in the Netherlands). You will also integrate all these models, and those developed by other labs for thrombectomy treatments, into a final in silico clinical stroke trial, and together with other partners in INSIST (most notably AMC), carry out in silico clinical trials as a proof of concept.

The main purpose of the PhD project therefore is to deliver a final integrated in silico stroke trial and provide a proof of concept. To do so you will contribute to models for thrombolysis, for brain perfusion, and for virtual stroke populations, and integrate all this into the final in silico clinical trial. This requires a broad interest, a strong capability to collaborate with other labs, a proactive attitude, a good knowledge from biomedicine (or willingness to learn this) and strong technical computational science skills.


The candidate should have:

  • a Master degree in either Computational Science, Computational (bio)Physics, Computational Biomedicine, or related disciplines;
  • relevant experience somewhere on the spectrum of topics as described above;
  • a strong drive to acquire deep knowledge of biomedicine, if that is lacking;
  •  experience in modelling and simulation, with good knowledge of modern computing environments such as Python;
  • experience with, or willingness to learn required computer science technologies to integrate individual models into a final in silico clinical stroke trial.

Experience with high performance computing is preferred.

We seek a candidate able to collaborate with researchers working on other topics, thus forming a bridge between their own domain and collaborators with the larger European project. Candidates should be able to work in an international multidisciplinary team. The PhD candidate should form a bridge between several communities within the project (medicine, image analysis, modellers, experimental groups) and should therefore be capable to ‘speak their languages’. Candidates should be able to work in an international multidisciplinary team and be willing to travel to labs all over Europe.

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