PhD student: Metabolic stress in genetic heart disease

Research line: Experimental Cardiology, Heart Failure
Project: KETONE-HF, MITO-FORCE, STOP-HF, PLN cardiomyopathy

As a scientist you want to matter. You really want to make a difference in the lives of people with heart disease, now and in the future. If you share this passion with us, please apply for this vacancy at UMCG Cardiology, a dynamic department where research and clinical practice are intertwined. We translate problems that we experience in clinical practice into scientific research. We improve patient care with the results. We believe that providing ambitious young people with space and opportunities will ultimately result in a cure for every heart disease. As a PhD student, UMCG Cardiology, therefore, offers plenty of opportunities to follow your passions and develop your talents.

Job description

Genetic heart diseases are caused by defects in the DNA that can cause severe heart failure and / or cardiac arrest. It often affects young people that can only be saved by a heart transplant.

At the moment we are unable to predict if and when patients with genetic heart disease become ill and how serious the disease will become. Some carriers grow old without ever developing heart disease, while others with the same mutation die young from sudden cardiac death.  There are also no effective treatments for genetic heart disease. Recent evidence suggests that metabolic stress can accelerate genetic heart disease. Both stress from the body that acts on the heart as well as stress that arises from the heart muscle cells themselves are thought to contribute. We expect that these two forms of stress add up to determine whether mutation carriers will develop the disease.

During your PhD research you will investigate how the genetic defect causes harmful changes in heart muscle cells. You will use various (human) models of genetic heart disease to determine if and how metabolic stress contributes to the development of heart muscle disease. The knowledge generated by this research will be used to develop new treatments. The research is funded by the Dutch Cardiovascular Alliance and you will be part of a consortium with scientist from the Amsterdam UMC, Maastricht UMC, Erasmus MC Rotterdam, Maastricht University, Trimbos Institute and UMC Utrecht.

More information about the DOUBLE-DOSE consortium can be found here:

Opportunities for you

  • An inspiring interdisciplinary team, with strong interaction between experimental, genetic, epidemiological and clinical research groups, all on one floor.
  • Research at the intersection of science and medicine.
  • The PI’s are present, interact with you, and have weekly meetings.
  • We are well-funded and you will have access to all resources needed for your project.
  • There are 3 PhD students working on this topic, you will be working in a team.
  • We are leading in this field and have strong connections with the genetic heart disease community in Europe and the USA.
  • A consortium of scientists from 5 different institutions working on a common goal.
  • After successful PhD graduation, candidates with a Dutch MD license are eligible to enter the selection procedure for the Cardiology training program in the UMCG.

What we ask

  • A master degree in (bio-medical) sciences.
  • Interest in cardiology,  genetics or both.
  • Previous experience with cell and animal models of heart disease is a pro.
  • A teamplayer that can also work independently.
  • Able to express oneself in English in word and writing.
  • Two references from PIs of Bachelor and/or Master projects.

The UMCG has a preventive Hepatitis B policy. This may mean that you must have built up sufficient protection against Hepatitis B before you can be appointed. If necessary, the UMCG will provide the vaccination.

What we offer

  • Full-time appointment for one year, with the possibility of extension for a maximum of four years.
  • Salary amounts to a maximum of € 3,196 gross per month (scale PRO) depending on education and experience and on the basis of a full-time appointment.
  • 8% holiday allowance
  • 8.3% end-of-year bonus

The employment conditions are in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for University Medical Centers (CAO-UMC).

Description of the Institute and the lab

The department of experimental cardiology is looking to recruit motivated and enthusiastic scientists!  Come and join a dynamic translational research department focusing on heart failure research, with several of the worlds leading experts in the field. Our group offers a stimulating environment in which initiative, curiosity, hard work, fun, and team play are central denominators. We are embedded in the European Heart Failure network, and are combining experimental and clinical work, which results in exciting translational science. Read more about the department and the principal investigators on:

The University of Groningen is ranked 65 on the Shanghai index (second in rank in the Netherlands), and its 29,000 students contribute to the vibrant and lively atmosphere of Groningen. The University Medical Centre Groningen (UCMG) is amongst the largest medical centers in the Netherlands, and has strong research lines in cardiology, oncology, nephrology, hosts the European Aging Institute (ERIBA), and several other disciplines, and has up-to-date core facilities allowing state-of-the-art methodology. All communication and meetings are in English, as we work in a multinational team.

More information

For more information about this vacancy, contact: Daan Westenbrink,,  Herman Sillje, or prof. Rudolf de Boer,  (do not use for applications).


You can only apply via the digital application form at the bottom of this page. Immediately after sending, a standard acknowledgment of receipt will be emailed with information that is not relevant to this vacancy, because the aforementioned deadline does not apply to this vacancy. Your response will be processed immediately, and the vacancy will be open until a suitable candidate is found.

Please state in your CV the names and contact information of at least two references and add a short biosketch.

Please apply via the following link: