PhD candidate in antiviral translational pharmacology

PhD candidate in antiviral translational pharmacology

Published Deadline Location
31 Oct 28 Nov Leiden

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The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR) are looking for a:

PhD candidate in antiviral translational pharmacology
Vacancy number: 14234

Job description

We are looking for an ambitious PhD candidate to join our division Systems Pharmacology and Pharmacy, LACDR at Leiden University. The successful PhD applicant will perform innovative research in the fields of antiviral pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.

Project description
Viruses with pandemic potential are continuously emerging. Novel antiviral therapies need to be developed efficiently and rapidly. The understanding of drug exposure-response relationships is central to all antiviral drug development. Currently, the knowledge of antiviral exposure-response is limited and it is an understudied phenomenon. This project initially focuses on cytomegalovirus therapy optimisation and thereafter other viruses. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a human Herpesvirus that causes significant mortality and morbidity in immunocompromised patients. The first-line drug, ganciclovir, exhibits significant toxicity and resistance is common. There is little understanding on the emergence of resistance.

In this project different computational methodologies will be used to build mechanistic PK/PD models for antivirals based on experimental and literature data. Clinical data will be utilised to develop population PK and PK/PD models to guide dose optimisation of antivirals (e.g., ganciclovir for cytomegalovirus). In addition, PBPK models will be developed to predict target site distribution of antivirals and drug toxicity. The PhD candidate will work closely together with experimentally focused PhD candidate on optimising design of novel experiments and clinical studies. This research project will help optimize therapy in vulnerable patients with compromised immune system.

Key responsibilities
  • Conduct original, novel, and collaborative research in the framework of the project and complete your PhD thesis within 4 years;
  • Publish scientific articles at international peer-review journals;
  • Present at national and international conferences;
  • Support education activities in the bachelor and master programs of biopharmaceutical sciences;
  • Engage in collaborations between internal and external research groups;
  • Follow PhD courses based on an individual training and supervision plan.


Leiden University


Required skills
  • A Master’s degree in a (bio-) pharmaceutical, biomedical sciences, pharmacy, or biology, or a similar master’s degree.
  • Knowledge on PK/PD and (clinical) pharmacology
  • Prior experience PK/PD modelling (e.g., NONMEM, Monolix, Pmetrics) and/or mechanistic computational biological modelling
  • Prior experience using scientific scripting languages (R, Python)
  • Full proficiency in English (provide an IELTS/TOEFL score if available)
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and in teams
  • Excellent organisational and planning skills
  • Interested in participating in educational tasks

Preferred skills
  • Experience with PBPK and QSP modelling
  • Knowledge on viral biology, microbiology

Conditions of employment

Research at our faculty
Working at the Faculty of Science means being part of an exciting, dynamic scientific environment which sets high standards for its students and staff. The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is diverse, ranging from computer science, mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences.

The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,300 staff and over 5,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together. For more information, see

Terms and conditions
We offer a full-time appointment of initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the research, teaching evaluations, personal capabilities and compatibility, the appointment will be extended for another three years. You will be appointed in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. The salary ranges from € 2.770,- per month in the first year to € 3.539,- gross per month in the fourth year based on a full-time position (pay scale P).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career program. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information, see the website:

All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness. In addition, advanced courses to deepen scientific knowledge are offered by the research school.

Diversity and work-life balance
Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups. LACDR is a highly diverse institute, in culture, background, and gender. We stand for excellence in a caring Institute. We wish to reflect society in all aspects, as we believe that this improves the dynamics in our organization. Therefore, we support and understand the need for a work/life/family balance and consequent varying working hours and places. We believe that doing good science is fun, and goes hand in hand with a friendly culture.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 14234



Rapenburg 70, 2311EZ, Leiden

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