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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 "Development of a multi-scale integrative framework for subtyping hypertension" primarily at Maastricht University (UM) under the supervision of Prof. Bram A. Kroon, Dr. Koen D. Reesink, and Dr. Aaron Isaacs in close collaboration with partner institute Université de Paris, Prof. Maria-Christina Zennaro, and with our private partner Microlife AG.
Background & Objectives
The knowledge generated in the MINDSHIFT research programme will span a wide variety of methodologies and system levels, reflecting the multi-factorial and multi-disciplinary nature of hypertension. Data will include e.g. clinical characteristics, functional and structural measurements and imaging data, blood biomarkers and -omics data; whilst models include human, experimental and computational domains, across the scale range from genes to population. Ultimately, this collective intelligence must benefit the individual patient and the larger population. The objectives for the ESR4 project hence are:
1. To review methodologies and models in hypertension research and develop in collaboration with fellow ESRs an integrative model framework, allowing integration of knowledge across scales.
2. To critically review current definitions of hypertension classes with respect to underlying vascular causes, at the organ and organ-system levels, and develop a more pathophysiology-informed scheme for subtyping hypertension.
3. To develop an integrative approach facilitating optimal communication between patient and physician, to achieve the best possible and sustainable vascular health condition.
The project will involve the following key methodologies:
- systematic literature review on modelling and classification of hypertension, to identify gaps in hypertension subtyping,
- develop quantitative insight into system and organ level causes of systolic and diastolic hypertension, utilising an existing biophysical model of the circulation (www.circadapt.org),
- study the following model domains in collaboration with other ESRs: graph/network models, multiple regression models, biophysical/biochemical models, and control systems models,
- conceive a multi-scale model framework, to capture subtyping information across the genetic-to-patient levels, and design an evaluation protocol to assess the framework’s robustness and validity,
- conceive and implement, in collaboration with patients, an integrated approach (e.g. questionnaire, interviewing, e-health tools) to support and enhance patient-physician interaction, based on the framework’s insights.
For the project, three supporting secondments are planned to develop skills and widen the scientific scope. These include 2 months at the Zennaro lab at UP on genome-wide case-control association studies (GWAS), 5+2 months at TMC Data Science on design, development and verification of model frameworks, and 1+2 months at Microlife AG on user-oriented e-health solutions.
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: https://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/node_en.
Qualifications: MSc biomedical engineering/sciences, or bioinformatics, or equivalent
Experience: Data science or biomedical engineering project, if possible combined with patient-based research / interviewing
Knowledge & skills: Statistics and methodology; systems theory; programming skills; system design and evaluation, bioinformatics/data modelling.
Abilities: Excellent analytical as well as communication skills, proactive project planning and time management, integration of multi-disciplinary information and context
Attitude and disposition: Highly enthusiastic about research and willing to learn; creative and collaborative attitude; affinity with patient care/disease prevention/e-health
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 https://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/sites/mariecurie2/files/msca-itn-fellows-note_en_v2.pdf and www.maastrichtuniversity.nl > Support > UM employees for more information.
Please submit your application by filling in the vacancy form on the MINDSHIFT website.
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.
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