PhD position sex differences in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction

PhD position sex differences in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction

Published Deadline Location
27 Sep 6 Nov Utrecht

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You will investigate the sex-specific progression of left ventricular diastolic dysfunction towards heart failure with preserved ejection fraction in adults with high cardiovascular risk.

Job description

Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is a highly prevalent syndrome, especially among elderly women, with scarce treatment options. Little is yet known about the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the progression from an asymptomatic stage defined as left ventricular diastolic dysfunction to clinical heart failure. Importantly, reasons for the female predominance of the disease remain poorly understood.

The goal of this PhD project is to investigate which panels of biomarkers can predict the progression of left ventricular diastolic dysfunction towards heart failure with preserved ejection fraction in men and women. The identification and characterization of proteomic bioprofiles would help to understand different pathways of progression to heart failure and to develop novel preventive strategies directed towards higher risk individuals.

We hypothesize that an impaired insulin signaling combined with heightened systemic inflammation might be associated with the progression of diastolic dysfunction towards HFpEF. Further, we hypothesize that this association might be stronger in women compared to men.

This project will be embedded within the Reconnext research program, a multicenter consortium of the Dutch Heart foundation that aims to advance medical research of heart failure in relation to impaired kidney function.

As the successful candidate for this position, you will have access to longitudinal imaging and biochemical data from a well-phenotyped study population that over the years took part in the HEPFul and HELPFulUP studies at our center. You will be directly involved in processing and analyzing data, reviewing scientific literature, you will attend weekly meetings, write scientific articles and give presentations at national and international conferences. Besides fundamental and translational research you will also take part in teaching students.

The position is for 4 years, you will start with a contract of one year (12 months).


University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht)


We are looking for a talented PhD candidate with a keen interest in both fundamental as well as in applied research. Requirements:
  • MD or biology of disease degree
  • Epidemiological background and previous experience with statistics and modelling is of great advantage
  • Strong interest in cardiovascular pathophysiology and cardiology
  • Motivation in investigating novel diagnostic approaches to predict the development of cardiovascular disease and ready to work hard to build a scientific career
  • Excellent verbal and written English skills
Our offer

We offer a full-time PhD position with a salary in line with the Collective Labour Agreement for University Medical Centers in the Netherlands (CAO UMC) with a range of added fringe benefits, such as an annual bonus of 8.3%, a 8% vacation allowance holiday allowance, collective discounted rates for a number of insurances, an attractive bicycle scheme and/or public transport allowance, and free parking.

We would like to receive your application before November 7th 2022 including:
  • a cover letter (maximum 1 page)
  • a curriculum vitae

Conditions of employment

The maximum salary for this position (36 - 36 hours) is € 3.336,00 gross per month based on full-time employment.

In addition, we offer an annual benefit of 8.3%, holiday allowance, travel expenses and career opportunities. The terms of employment are in accordance with the Cao University Medical Centers (UMC).


UMC Utrecht is one of the top-ranked academic medical centers in Europe and offers interesting career opportunities. For this project you will work at the laboratory of experimental cardiology, a multi-disciplinary and translational environment, within the group of Prof. Hester den Ruijter. This group currently consists of 10 PhD-students and postdocs and 5 staff members. Working closely with your peers, you will study the complex interaction between molecular pathways, metabolic and inflammatory profiles and cardiac structure and function phenotypes at echocardiography.


  • Research, development, innovation
  • Health
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • max. €3336 per month
  • University graduate
  • 2022-2506


University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht)

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