Phd position on Clinical nutrition and protein metabolism: You are what you eat

Phd position on Clinical nutrition and protein metabolism: You are what you eat

Published Deadline Location
13 Dec 14 Feb Maastricht

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We are looking for a PhD candidate with a strong background, interest, and affinity for academic research in the area of clinical nutrition research and protein metabolism

Job description

We are looking for a PhD candidate with a strong background, interest, and affinity for academic research in clinical nutrition and protein metabolism in patients, who will be responsible for:
  • Contribution to the full project plan (under supervision).
  • Setting up and executing research studies within a clinical setting (writing protocol for medical ethical clearance, practical preparation for research, patient recruitment, planning and execution of test days, data handling and analysis).
  • Prepare progress reports, write academic publications (under supervision), and present research outcomes at national and international conferences.
  • Active contribution to other research activities within the larger research group.
  • Setting up and/or maintaining collaborations with various other groups within the University and various hospitals.
  • Keeping up with the relevant scientific literature within the field of study.
  • Supervision of research assistants and students, where appropriate.
  • Completing a PhD thesis in 4 years

Project description
Currently, patient treatment is suboptimal because no tailor-made nutritional guidelines are available for patients to support optimal recovery from surgery. The lack of fundamental knowledge about the utilization of ingested protein by different tissues forms a significant barrier to the development of evidence based feeding practices. The goal of this project is to assess the metabolic fate of ingested protein-derived amino acids. Specifically, we will for the first time quantify the incorporation of dietary protein-derived amino acids in various organs and other tissues in vivo in humans. To this end, intrinsically labeled milk protein will be produced and provided to hospital patients prior to surgery that involves the (partial) resection of organ tissue, such as muscle, brain, lung, intestine, and others. These organ tissue samples will be collected, and tracer incorporation will be assessed at the stable isotope research facility at the Maastricht University Medical Centre. This project will provide unique proof-of-concept that dietary protein provides precursors for all human tissues.

This project will allow the candidate to establish a network with many different collaborating surgeons and specialties in various hospitals and allow you to further your knowledge on postprandial protein handling in vivo in humans. This project will provide the clinical proof that for all human tissues, ‘you are what you eat’.

The current project will center around the use of intrinsically labeled protein prior to surgery to assess the incorporation of dietary protein derived amino acids in various tissue proteins. This position is available within our research group (


Maastricht University (UM)


Candidates should hold a Master degree (MSc) in a relevant field (e.g. nutrition, biomedical science, medicine, or exercise sciences/movement sciences). There is a preference towards candidates holding a medical degree. The preferred candidate is a team player with excellent collaboration and communication skills, including speaking Dutch and English fluently. Finally, the candidate should have a strong drive to participate in in vivo human research on the impact of nutrition on protein metabolism in patients.

Conditions of employment

What we offer

As PhD candidate at Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, you will be employed by the most international university in the Netherlands, located in the beautiful city of Maastricht. In addition, we offer you:
  • Good employment conditions. The position is graded according to UFO profile PhD candidate, with corresponding salary based on experience ranging from € 2,770 and € 3,539 gross per month (based on a full-time employment of 38 hours per week). In addition to the monthly salary, an 8.0% holiday allowance and an 8.3% year-end bonus apply.
  • An employment contract for a period of 12 months with a scope of 1.0 FTE. Upon a positive evaluation, an extension of 3 years will follow.
  • At Maastricht University, the well-being of our employees is of utmost importance, we offer flexible working hours and the possibility to work partly from home if the nature of your position allows it. You will receive a monthly commuting and internet allowance for this. If you work full-time, you will be entitled to 29 vacation days and 4 additional public holidays per year, namely carnival Monday, carnival Tuesday, Good Friday, and Liberation Day. If you choose to accumulate compensation hours, an additional 12 days will be added. Furthermore, you can personalize your employment conditions through a collective labor agreement (CAO) choice model.
  • As Maastricht University, we offer various other excellent secondary employment conditions. These include a good pension scheme with the ABP and the opportunity for UM employees to participate in company fitness and make use of the extensive sports facilities that we also offer to our students.
  • Last but certainly not least, we provide the space and facilities for your personal and professional development. We facilitate this by offering a wide range of training programs and supporting various well-established initiatives such as 'acknowledge and appreciate'.

The terms of employment at Maastricht University are largely set out in the collective labor agreement of Dutch Universities. In addition, local provisions specific to UM apply. For more information, click here.


Maastricht University

Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences

At the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences (FHML), everything revolves around healthy living. Our research and education are not solely focused on recovery, but place a strong emphasis on prevention, health preservation, and health promotion. Our aim is to use our knowledge and expertise to genuinely contribute to the well-being of individual people as well as society in total.

In, research, and healthcare, FHML is closely collaborating with the academic hospital in Maastricht, together forming the Maastricht University Medical Center (MUMC+). FHML is strongly connected in education, research, and care with the Maastricht academic hospital, together with which it forms the Maastricht University Medical Centre (MUMC+).

FHML, which is the largest faculty of Maastricht University, is formed by an (inter)national community of employees and students. The faculty offers a wide range of Dutch and English-taught bachelor's and master's programs in innovative educational concepts in which the emphasis is always on building bridges to practice.

The multidisciplinary research of the FHML focuses on a number of carefully chosen topical current themes. In addition to research aimed at gaining new insights, it also concerns research whose results can be directly translated into concrete applications and innovations. The implementation of the various research programs is organized in our six graduate schools and two institutes.


Human Biology / NUTRIM

The Department of Human Biology is part of NUTRIM, Research Institute of Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism, within the Faculty of Health Medicine and Life Sciences (FHML) of Maastricht University. The central research theme of the Department of Human Biology is Healthy Living with Obesity, Sarcopenia, Energy metabolism and Cardiometabolic Health as spearheads. NUTRIM - Research Institute of Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism is part of the Faculty of Health Medicine and Life Sciences of the Maastricht University. NUTRIM catalyses translational research into metabolic and chronic inflammatory disorders and aims to contribute to health maintenance and personalized medicine by unraveling lifestyle and disease-induced derangements in metabolism and by developing targeted nutritional, exercise and drug interventions.

Within NUTRIM, approximately 400 scientists including 245 PhD students, and an additional 70 support staff members work interdisciplinary together in 16 Biomedical, clinical, and behavioral-science departments. Through its research master and PhD programme, NUTRIM aims to educate investigators of high scientific excellence and ambassadors to support and develop this research field. For more information: NUTRIM Website.


  • PhD
  • Health
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 486


Maastricht University (UM)

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P. Debyelaan 25, 6229HX, Maastricht

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