PhD position – Better estimates of hormonal exposure to improve diagnosis
and treatment in endocrine diseases (BEED-ED)
Last modification : Friday, July 9, 2021
The laboratory of Clinical and Experimental Endocrinology at KU Leuven is
currently hiring an enthusiastic and highly motivated PhD researcher to
participate in our new research project “Better estimates of hormonal exposure
to improve diagnosis and treatment in endocrine diseases”. This project is
funded by the TBM program of Research Foundation Flanders (Applied Biomedical
Research with primary social finality – FWO Vlaanderen) and is in
collaboration with Ghent University.
Despite the importance of free steroid hormone levels in determining
physiological processes, clinical applicability of free steroid hormone levels
is still hampered. This is due to the use of inaccurate and insensitive
methods to measure total steroid hormone and binding protein concentrations,
and - especially for free vitamin D - poorly validated calculators. However,
measurement of free hormone concentrations is applicable to numerous clinical
conditions and is also relevant for an aging and ever more obese general
The main goals of the BEED-ED project are to improve diagnostic accuracy of
free steroid hormone measurements (with a focus on free testosterone and free
vitamin D), to contribute to the knowledge on the clinical relevance thereof
and to have a positive impact on the availability of free steroid hormone
assessments in routine clinical diagnostic settings. As such, our project will
lead to better targeted care of endocrine diseases in both the general
population as well as in specific patient groups (such as obese patients,
pregnant women, patients with chronic kidney disease, …).
This translates into three main research objectives:
(1) developing and validating accurate analytical methods for free steroid
hormone measurements (by using equilibrium dialysis and mass spectrometry)
(2) evaluate and if needed improve/develop (disease-specific) free hormone
calculators, with a specific focus on conditions where the binding protein
milieu (production, metabolism, binding affinity) is altered, such as in
patients with chronic kidney disease, obesity or during pregnancy
(3) define limitations and best clinical use of such calculators to develop
an operational clinical sample workflow for direct measurements of free
steroid hormone concentrations in selected samples.
We are looking for an enthusiastic and highly motivated candidate with a
Master's degree in Medicine, Pharmaceutical sciences, Biomedical sciences,
Rehabilitation sciences, Bioscience engineering, or related field.
You have excellent experimental research skills and a genuine interest in
improving hormone measurements and implementing your research findings
into clinical practice.
Basic knowledge of mass spectrometry is an asset.
You have strong teamwork and organizational skills and are enthusiastic
about collaborating with a diverse range of partners in a
You have excellent verbal and written communication skills with profound
knowledge of English.
You respect KU Leuven policies on research integrity, ethics, and data
Duration of contract: 1-year full-time PhD scholarship, extendable to 4
years upon positive evaluation. Starting date is October 1th.
Funding is available but you will also pursue additional funding.
conditions:https: // www. kuleuven.be/personeel/jobsite/en/phd/phd-
As a partner of the Leuven International Doctoral School Biomedical
Sciences (https: // gbiomed.kuleuven.be/english/phd) and
YouReCa(https: // www. kuleuven.be/english/research/youreca), we offer you
the opportunity to take part in a broad spectrum of activities that are
related to training, education and career development.
For more information please contact Prof. dr. Leen Antonio, mail:
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regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If
you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us