Doctoral project 'Design of a birth cohort - Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD)'

Doctoral project 'Design of a birth cohort - Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD)' Master in

(bio) medical / nursing sciences

You start a birth cohort study. This study investigates the influence of periconceptional exposures on the early

development of the fetus and child. More specifically, you focus on the role of environmental exposures and

their biological effects. This research results from a collaboration between the Epidemiology Research Group

(KU Leuven), Leuven University Fertility Centre (LUFC), the Clinical Nutrition Group (KU Leuven), and the Unit

Health & Environment (WIV). The Epidemiology Research Group has an international reputation in the design of

epigenetic studies in humans. Our topics include epigenetic effects of obesity, nutrition, pollution, and other

environmental factors. These can adversely affect overall health, fertility, childhood growth, pregnancy, as well

as health of the next generations. The Clinical Nutrition Group focuses on translational research with attention

for both clinical and public health aspects of nutrition with a focus on trans-nutritional care of patients. The Unit

Health & Environment (WIV) focuses on the health effects of environmental exposures and has a track record in

setting up and conducting epidemiological studies.

You are responsible for the design, the actual organization and the implementation of the first phase of this

research. This implies:

You write a research protocol, under the guidance of your promoter and co-promotor.

You contact potential volunteers or patients, by phone, email, post, or personally in clinic.

You perform anthropometric measurements, collects survey and other patient data.

You are responsible for the logistics of the project, including data collection and management, collection

and storage of human samples, and the organization of the preparatory lab work.

You follow up these participants during treatment or pregnancy.

You report to the investigators and you participate in team meetings.

You write a PhD plan within the first 6 months, based on the collected data and the needs within our team.

You start with pilot analyses about dietary habits and intake; data are available from other in-house

databases. In the next phase, you will work with other partners for the extension of this birth cohort with

additional modules. Furthermore, you analyze the data as they become available in the current birth



Master of Medical, Biomedical, or Nursing Science.

A first experience in setting up epidemiological or clinical studies.

Basic knowledge of statistics and statistical programs or the willingness to learn in a short timeframe by

following additional courses.

Plus point: knowledge of nutrition / toxicology; taking of human (blood) samples; preparation of lab


Generic competences: dynamic; organizing skills; result-oriented; communicating; convincing; accurate;

analyzing; team worker; independent.

Languages: Dutch and English.

Prepared to work at different locations.


A fixed-term employment contract (renewable for the duration of the PhD project). You accelerate your skills

within a multidisciplinary team of researchers at KU Leuven and WIV. An exciting research project within a

scientific federal institution. The possibility of achieving a doctorate thesis. A varied and hands-on function.

Guidance by experienced scientist. Space for initiative. A gross salary of: €2,991.36 according to barema SW10

supplemented with extra-legal benefits such as hospitalization insurance, free public transport, business

restaurant, ...

For more information contact: Stefaan Vernaeve Service P & O - - T 02 / 642.50.16

Interest? Submit your application via our website (; this vacancy is open until a candidate has

been selected with the skills needed; hence, we recommend applying as soon as possible