ESR 10 position

MSCA ITN founded project “DohART-NET” focusing on effect of altered conditions during the periconceptional (PC) period of development in humans, including babies born from assisted reproduction (ART, “test-tube”) interventions, and from diabetic, obese mothers. The DohART-NET project integrates pre-clinical (animal and stem cell-models) and clinical studies and apply data linkage, bioinformatics and network science for the identification and validation of mechanisms of diseases common in early development. The project will promote efficient disease prevention and potential personalised therapeutic interventions in both the general and ART populations to overcome adverse disease pathways. DohART-NET will train 13 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) PhD students on this important topic much needed to improve public health over several generations, and it will integrate pre-clinical, translational clinical and in silico modeling approaches. The ESRs will strongly benefit from a network of internationally recognized scientists and the participation of companies with relevant interests and expertise in the field.

DohART-NET Network: BioTalentum Ltd. (Hungary), University of Cambridge (UK), University of Manchester (UK), University of Southampton (UK), Erasmus University Medical Center (Netherlands), CeMM (Austria), Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (Germany), MWM GmbH (Germany), Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel (Belgium), IVI Valencia (Spain)

Job Title: PhD Position  (ESR10)

Application Deadline: 14th July 2019

Recruiting Institution: Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel – Brussels, BE


The applicant will develop a multidisciplinary project focused on epigenetic safety after ART.

Brief description of the project:
Although children born after ART are healthy, an association between ART and epigenetic disorders has been suspected. The general aim of our research is to gain more insight into the influence of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) on the human epigenome. The approach followed so far, focused on DNA methylation analysis in human gametes and preimplantation embryos. To further address the role of epigenetics in ART, it is essential to separate an inherited (infertility) epigenetic modification from a secondary one caused by ART factors. Families with ART and non-ART siblings are being recruited from the extensive children follow-up database at our centre; these families had an ART treatment for PGT since they were at risk for a genetic disease. Sample collection in these families will allow to carry out genome-wide epigenetic testing using next generation sequencing technologies. The comparison of the ART and non-ART sibling pairs will allow to separate inherited genetic factors from ART-related factors and to reveal if and to which extend ART factors contribute to epigenetic changes in ART children.

The ideal candidate should be a master (in biology or related field) and have solid knowledge in molecular biology and bioinformatics. We are looking for a motivated student interested in doing the wet lab part, as well as mastering the bioinformatics part. Ability to work independently and experience in standard molecular biology techniques is necessary

The project implies a series of secondments at partner labs for additional training. The successful candidate will participate in the network’s training activities and work placements at the laboratories of the participating academic and industrial teams.


The appointment will be on a temporary basis for a period of 36 months (Regular employment contract). The candidate will receive a Monthly Living Allowance plus a Mobility Allowance compliant with the applicable EC Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions-ITN general conditions.


Applicants should meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • have a background in molecular biology and bioinformatics
  • have not been awarded a PhD already
  • have less than 4 years of full time – including any period of research experience at the signature of the contract
    (This is measured from the date when the degree was obtained, which formally entitles the candidate to embark a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained, or in the country in which the research training is provided. Degree: MSc, MD, DVM and BSC in some countries.)
  • at the time of selection, the candidate must have not resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organization/recruiting institution for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to selection. Short stays such as holidays are not considered.
  • excellent knowledge of the spoken and written English language
  • excellent communication and team working skills

How to Apply and further details:

Follow the below steps to submit your application. Please note all the uploaded documents should be written in English and should be in PDF format.

1. Please answer the questions below
2. Fill in the required fields
3. Upload your CV
4. Upload your motivation letter describing research career goals, skills and experience
5. Upload 2 letters of recommendation

Are you interested?

Please answer our questions:

    Do you have resided or carried out your main activity outside of the host institution's country for more than 24 months in the 3 years?

    Are you in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of your research careers, starting at the date of obtaining your masters degree (or similar)?