Job details

GF/2018/010: Associate Academic Staff - PhD Scholarship - 100% – Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy - Medical Genetics - cardiogenetics

Company details

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel has been a leading player in the Flemish Higher Education landscape for 40 years. The University numbers 12.000 students and together with its hospital - UZ Brussel – employs more than 6.000 people. The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is the largest Dutch speaking employer in the capital.

Teaching and research at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel are founded on the principle of unfettered inquiry to benefit the progress of mankind. This means rejecting dogmatic positions and guaranteeing the freedom to form opinions without interference; in this way the University aims to ensure the dispersal of the principle of unfettered inquiry throughout society.

The University is autonomous and democratically run. This means guaranteeing the exercise of the fundamental freedoms within the University, as well as the right of the University Community to participate in the decision making process and scrutiny of University policy.

The following form part of the University’s mission:

  • the development, the communication and the application of a high level of academic education and scientific research, free from all preconceived ideas;
  • the translation of these ideals and knowledge into society in the spirit of social engagement;
  • the creation of a society in which everyone is capable of engaging in critical thinking.


  • Academic department: KLIW / Centre for Medical Genetics
  • Subject area: Medical Genetics – cardiogenetics
    Computational genetic research (biostatistics / bioinformatics) in the complex hereditary cardiac arrhythmia, Brugada syndrome

The assignment:

Computational (biostatistics / bioinformatics) doctoral research into the genetic complexity of the inherited cardiac arrhythmia, Brugada syndrome in a collaboration between VUB, (IB)2 ( and BRIGHTcore ( in context of the IMAGica (Integrative personalised Medical Approach for Genetic diseases, Inherited Cardiac Arrhythmias as a model) project.

Some background:

In the genomic era, in which a large proportion of genes responsible for monogenic disorders have been identified, it remains a challenge to unravel the genetic architecture and cause of complex traits.

The project:

Up to now, the next generation sequencing based exome analysis was not really successful in unraveling the molecular genetic cause of the hereditary cardiac arrhythmia, Brugada syndrome.

In the IMAGica project we wish to answer the scientific question whether Brugada syndrome can still be considered as a pure, Mendelian, monogenic ion channel disorder or should be regarded as a multiple hit disease model. We want to analyze on the one hand the oligo- to polygenic effect and on the other hand the (somatic) mutation contribution.

The tasks:

The project is mainly computational and focuses on

- genome-wide association studies

- mutation load analyzes

using next generation sequencing exome and genome data, polygenic risk scores and mutation load analyzes to dissect complex traits.

The setting may offer opportunities to participate in an international consortium.

Questions about content?
Contact Sonia Van Dooren on +32 (0)2 477 64 79 or


You are a civil engineer or bioengineer or a master in statistics, mathematics or computational sciences, with a strong affinity for computational biology, in particular biostatistics and / or bioinformatics. The ideal candidate has an interest in cardiogenetics and a talent for biostatistics, bioinformatics and large-scale data analysis.

You have knowledge of:

  • Biostatistics & bioinformatics in a next generation sequencing and / or array workbench environment (data assembly, analysis and annotation)
  • Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and/or mutation load analyses on next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and / or array data
  • Large-scale data analysis

You have competencies in:

  • Scripting and / or programming (eg R, Perl, Linux, Python, C, ...) in particular statistical programming language (R, SAS, stata, Winbugs, Bioconductor)
  • Computational aspects of genomics
  • Relational databases (MySQL, PostgreSQL)

You have capacities in:

  • Problem-solving (thinking & acting)
  • Fluent communication (oral & written)
  • Multi-tasking
  • Taking initiative, working autonomously
  • Positive attitude and team work
  • Eagerness to learn and you are driven to contribute to innovative research and diagnostics

You are fluent in languages:

  • Excellent knowledge of the English language (oral & written)
  • Some knowledge of Dutch is desirable but not essential

The candidate is expected to endorse the educational vision of the university (full text available on the university website).

Female candidates are particularly encouraged to apply


As an employee of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel your days will be spent in a dynamic, diverse and multilingual environment. Both our campuses are set within green oases on the outskirts of the centre of the capital of Flanders, Belgium and Europe. This centre, with all its opportunities, is within your reach by public transport in under half an hour.

Depending on your experience and academic merits you will receive a salary on one of the pay scales laid down by the government. Hospitalisation cover and free use of public transport for travel to and from work are standard conditions of employment. If you would rather cycle to work, compensation is also available for that. Both campuses have extensive sporting facilities which are at your disposal and a nursery is within walking distance.

More information is available at under the heading ‘future employees’.

  • Planned starting date: asap
  • Length of contract: 4 years
  • Deadline for application: 01.05.2018

Applications can only be submitted online (via the website of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

All applications must at least include the following attachments:

  • A brief CV
  • Comprehensive details of academic portfolio
  • Teaching and research perception, mentioning the candidate’s five most important publications (for post-doctoral positions)
  • A concise statement of the reason for applying including explanation about the development of future research
  • Diplomas

  • Placed on:Wed 21 February 2018
  • Location: Brussels


Pleinlaan 2
1050 Brussel


For more information:
at the number: 02/4749312
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