PhD position – Better estimates of hormonal exposure to improve diagnosis and treatment in endocrine diseases (BEED-ED)

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Belgium

August 20, 2021

Description

PhD position – Better estimates of hormonal exposure to improve diagnosis

and treatment in endocrine diseases (BEED-ED)

(ref. BAP-2021-571)

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.

Project

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 population.

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.

Profile
  • 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 multidisciplinary setting.

  • You have excellent verbal and written communication skills with profound knowledge of English.

  • You respect KU Leuven policies on research integrity, ethics, and data management.
  • Offer
  • 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.

  • Excellent working conditions:https: // www. kuleuven.be/personeel/jobsite/en/phd/phd- information#working-condition.
  • 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.
  • Interested?

    For more information please contact Prof. dr. Leen Antonio, mail: leen.antonio@kuleuven.be.

    KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

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