ESR PhD Student 'Metabolic drivers of hypertension: focus on the microcirculation'

ESR PhD Student 'Metabolic drivers of hypertension: focus on the microcirculation'

Published Deadline Location
19 Mar 5 Apr Maastricht

You cannot apply for this job anymore (deadline was 5 Apr 2021).

Browse the current job offers or choose an item in the top navigation above.

Are you interested to increase our knowledge in understanding the dynamic interactions between vascular and endocrine pthways in hypertension? Do you want to boost European innovation in future health science and industry towards more effective prevention of and cure for hypertension? Would you like to start your career in a European training network of leading research universities and professionals from the industry? Would you like to be part of a unique training programme focussed on personal development leading to a joint or double doctorate?
If so, then you should apply for this job

Job description

The Early Stage Researcher (ESR) will be trained within the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network MINDSHIFT (Mechanistic Integration of vascular aND endocrine pathways for Subtyping Hypertension: an Innovative network approach for Future generation research Training) and will perform the research project entitled "Metabolic drivers of hypertension: focus on the microcirculation" primarily at Maastricht University (The Netherlands) under the supervision of Dr Marleen van Greevenbroek, Dr Boy Houben and Prof Coen Stehouwer in close collaboration with the partner ESRs at UGLA, UAM and beyond.


The ESR will identify circulating metabolic drivers of obesity-associated microcirculatory dysfunction and hypertension. Data in the literature point at a role for lipids in e.g. nitric oxide bioavailability and endothelial/microvascular dysfunction. Other metabolic factors, including hormones and/or adipokines, can also affect endothelial/microvascular function. A comprehensive analysis of detailed metabolic information will be instrumental in the metabolic and endocrine subtyping of overweight/obese, hypertensive patients.


The ESR will use data of The Maastricht Study (currently available: n=3400), a deep-phenotyped, population-based cohort that is enriched for individuals with type 2 diabetes (Schram et al Eur J Epidemiol. 2014, Li et al, Am J Epidemiol. 2020). The Maastricht Study is expected to become one of the most extensive phenotyping studies in both the general population and type 2 diabetes participants world-wide. 

The microvascular and metabolic phenotyping in The Maastricht Study allows detailed assessment of metabolic factors that pinpoint mechanisms in the development of microcirculatory dysfunction and hypertension. The microvascular phenotyping includes skin capillary density, heat-induced vasodilation, flowmotion, and retinal microvascular diameters and reactivity. The metabolomics data include 1H NMR metabolomics (~250 metabolites with focus on lipids and lipoproteins, fatty acids, amino acids and glycolysis/ketone bodies;, complemented with biomarkers of inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, carbonyl stress and advanced glycation end-products. We will evaluate the associations of these circulating metabolites with microvascular dysfunction and hypertension, using regression analyses for individual metabolites and a systems biology approach for metabolic patterns. This enables us to determine to what extent the metabolites / metabolic patterns related to microvascular dysfunction overlap with those related to blood pressure (including 24h blood pressure variability) and whether they differ between subgroups, such as obese vs lean, and men vs women.

Planned secondments:

The ESR will additionally be trained in research groups of MINDHIFT network members in 1) isolated small vessel function (UGLA, Glasgow); 2) proresolvin lipid mediators effects on vascular cells (UAM, Madrid); 3) advanced microscopy and image analysis (Intelligent Imaging Innovations, London); 4) advanced data management (TMC Data Science, Utrecht).   


Maastricht University (UM)


Please note there are strict *eligibility requirements* which apply to all Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researchers. At the time of the appointment: Applicants must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in The Netherlands. for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before appointment under the project; Applicants shall also be in the first four years of their research careers at the time of appointment by the host organisation and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. For more information on Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks (ITNs), please see:

Qualifications: Master of Science in Health Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Medicine, Biology, Computational Biology or a related field

Experience: Epidemiology, Big data analysis, Vascular biology

Knowledge & skills: Knowledge of vascular biology, hypertension, metabolomics. Good communication skills and analytical skills are essential.

Abilities: Independent; prepared to take on challenging aims. Organising and prioritising own work and organising research within the project timetable are essential.

Attitude and disposition: Highly collaborative, dedicated researcher who thrives in an ambitious academic environment, Internationally oriented.

Other circumstances: Willingness to work flexibly in order to achieve project demands and targets as agreed with the supervisor. Able to travel to workshops and collaborating labs within EU.   

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 3 years.

You will be offered a salary plus mobility allowance and family allowance (if applicable) in line with the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Horizon 2020 requirements for Early Stage Researchers. Go to  and > Support > UM employees for more information.

Please submit your application by filling in the vacancy form on the MINDSHIFT website.


Maastricht University

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 20,000 students and 4,700 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, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.


MINDSHIFT is an EU funded PhD network coordinated by CARIM, School for Cardiovascular Diseases of Maastricht University, The Netherlands. MINDSHIFT brings together six university partners from across Europe to recruit a group of 15 of the best early stage researchers. The doctoral researchers will work together with senior researchers from across the network. Each candidate will be employed at one of the six universities and enrolled in a local PhD programme, while at the same time being part of an integrated research team and research project at network level.

MINDSHIFT offers a top-level interdisciplinary research programme to bridge the gap in understanding the dynamic interactions between vascular and endocrine pathways in hypertension, using an integrative framework approach fed by new data and insights from cutting-edge experimental and clinical studies.


  • PhD
  • Health
  • AT2021.90


Maastricht University (UM)

Learn more about this employer


Universiteitssingel 50, 6229 ER, Maastricht

View on Google Maps

Interesting for you