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PhD candidate on Computational Modeling of Cardiac Electromechanics: bridging the gap between electrics and mechanics in the human heart.
We are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate to join our multidisciplinary and translational research team, who is eager to be challenged and passionate to use computational modeling to solve the complex puzzle of sudden cardiac death in the young.
In the young (<40 years), sudden cardiac death (SCD) is often the first manifestation of a genetic cardiac disease causing lethal arrhythmias. Both male gender and physical exercise are known risk factors for SCD in this vulnerable population. Current mechanistic understanding of how gender-related and environmental factors, such as exercise, interact with a pro-arrhythmic substrate and trigger life-threatening arrhythmias is limited. This lack of knowledge makes the identification of those at risk for SCD extremely difficult. The EMPATHY project aims to unravel the complex pro-arrhythmic electro-mechanical interactions in the apparently healthy yet vulnerable hosts of genetic cardiac diseases by combining three different but highly complementary scientific fields, being clinical cardiac imaging (OSLO partner), genetics and cellular electrophysiology (MILAN partner), and multi-scale computational modelling (MAASTRICHT partner). We expect that the integrative EMPATHY approach will reveal novel genetic and electro-mechanical signatures of arrhythmogenic diseases, enabling earlier disease recognition, personalized therapeutic intervention, and effective prevention of SCD in the young.
The PhD candidate representing the MAASTRICHT partner will play a central role in this EMPATHY project, which is funded by the European Research Area Network on Cardiovascular Diseases (ERA-CVD). The candidate will develop and validate a fully coupled, multi-scale computational model of cardiac electro-mechanics. This model will link the dynamics of cellular electrophysiology with cardiac mechanics and circulatory hemodynamics. This unique tool will then be used to study electro-mechanical coupling across scales (i.e. cell, tissue, organ and circulation) during exercise in the normal and the diseased heart. The candidate will collaborate intensively with the OSLO and MILAN teams and will use their clinical and experimental expertise and data for model validation, as well as hypothesis evaluation and generation. The unique multidisciplinary profile of the research team, both internally in Maastricht and internationally in the EMPATHY consortium, will offer ample opportunities to learn about cardiac (patho)physiology at multiple scales, to collaborate with clinical partners, and to acquire unique academic skills that will provide a solid basis for further scientific career development.
You are a highly motivated technological innovator with a team spirit. You are able to work in the multidisciplinary and translational field of technological innovation and medicine, and like complex problems. You have excellent English language skills, communicative and organization competences, and a demonstrable interest in computational cardiology, in particular cardiac electromechanics. A MSc-degree in (medical) physics, biomedical engineering, (applied) mathematics, computer science, biomedical sciences or other related fields is a requirement. Similarly, affinity with cardiac (patho)physiology, computational modeling of biological systems, biophysical data acquisition and analysis, and strong computer programming skills (e.g. Matlab) are required. The preferred starting date for this position is April 1, 2019.
The full-time position is offered for four years (1+3), with a yearly evaluation. Your salary would be € 2.325,- gross per month in the first year up to € 2.972,- gross per month in the fourth year according to the PhD-candidate salary scale.
The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website www.maastrichtuniversity.nl > Support > UM employees.
Fixed-term contract: 4 years
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 16,300 students and 4,300 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.
The Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), School for Cardiovascular Diseases, is one of the top institutes for translational cardiovascular research in Europe. It is among the world leaders in the fields of research into vascular and thrombotic disorders and atrial fibrillation as well as translational heart failure research. It has also made important international contributions to molecular imaging in the cardiovascular field.
With an annual budget of approximately 20 mln Euros in 2018, CARIM is one of the largest cardiovascular research institutes in Europe, producing more than 500 scientific articles and approximately 40 PhD dissertations per year. CARIM employs 250 researchers from 13 disciplines, about 100 PhD students and 40 technical and support staff members.
Over the last ten years, CARIM papers have been published in high-impact journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Nature Medicine, Nature Cell Biology, Cell Metabolism, Journal of Experimental Medicine, Circulation, Lancet Neurology, and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Bibliometric analyses illustrate that CARIM publications have been cited 1.97 times more often than the world average for the cardiovascular field in the period of 2009 until 2012.
CARIM is recognized by the KNAW as a research school and as an international training site for Early Stage Researchers in the framework of the Marie Curie Program.
Cardiovascular scientists from around the world join CARIM because it values open communication, close cooperation, high ambitions, good facilities and a critical learning environment.