Job details

GF/2018/011: Associate Academic Staff - PhD Scholarship - 100% – Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy - Medical Genetics

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
    Integromics (genomics, transcriptomics, epigenomics) data analysis & applied bioinformatics in rare genetic diseases like cardiac arrhythmias and neurodevelopmental disorders

The assignment:

Doctoral research concerning the added value of integrated versus single multi-omics (whole genomics, transcriptomics, epigenomics) data analysis in the context of the Innoviris BRIDGE project IGenCareIntegrated Medical Genomics Care Solution for Patients with Rare Genetic Diseases’ in a collaboration between VUB, ULB , BRIGHTcore ( and (IB)2 (

Some background:

In the era of high-throughput massive parallel sequencing, genome-wide analyses have become standard in medical health care. Although this (r)evolutionary technology has been increasingly important in the improvement of the genetic diagnostic yield in patients with rare genetic diseases, scientists and health care providers still phase many challenges. Indeed from the laboratory point of view, scientists had to limit most of the diagnostic genomic analyses to partial analysis of the human genome for cost-effectiveness reasons. This has on the one hand led to a higher number of genetic diagnoses, but on the other hand also to a higher number of unsolved cases, due to lack of identification of potentially causal variants and/or due to uncertainty in interpretation of the data.

The project:

With the implementation of low cost whole human genome sequencing, transcriptomics and epigenomics we enter a novel time frame of functional genomics and integromics health care, further expanding the possibilities in identifying the cause of rare genetic diseases. Part of the IGenCare project focuses at the laboratory level, where we plan to extend the diagnostic yield of rare genetic diseases by a multi-omics / functional genomics / integromics approach through simultaneous analysis of the patient’s whole genome, gene expression and epigenetic regulation profile in an integrative way.

The tasks:

  • Support in the massive parallel sequencing & array multi-omics data generation through NovaSeq6000, HiSeq1500 & Iscan in collaboration with the BRIGHTcore team
  • Analysis of the multi-omics data and genotype-phenotype correlation at the single omics level
  • Evaluation and validation of the multi-omics data interpretation bioinformatics tool and GUI in collaboration with the (IB)2 multi-omics data integrator team
  • Support in the optimization of multi-omics integrator pipelines, algorithms and annotation tools
  • Implementation and application of the multi-omics integrator tool

Continuous communication in a constant feedback loop between the multi-omics integrator tool and GUI developers on the one hand and the omics data interpretation experts on the other hand

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


You are a bioengineer or a master in computational, biomedical or life sciences, with a strong affinity for applied bioinformatics and multi-omics data analysis.

You have knowledge of:

  • Multi-omics (full genome, transcriptome & epigenome) technology
  • Bioinformatics in a next generation sequencing and array workbench environment (data assembly, analysis and annotation)

You are competent in:

  • Computational aspects of genomics, transcriptomics and / or epigenomics
  • Scripting and / or programming (eg R, Perl, Linux, Python, C, ...)
  • 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: 01.04.2018
  • Length of contract: 3 years (1 x renewable for 1 year)
  • Deadline for application: 01.04.2018

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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