PhD position for in silico modeling and in vitro testing of thyroid disruption


  • Stand­plaats Bilthoven
  • Contractduur 48 maanden
  • Uren per week 36
  • Niveau Master/doctoraal
  • Vakgebied Onderzoek / wetenschap
  • Reageren voor 20 september Nog 1 dag
  • Vacaturenummer V&Z-GZB-088
  • Plaatsingsdatum 24 augustus 2021
  • Dienst­verband Arbeidsovereenkomst voor bepaalde tijd


We are looking for a motivated and enthusiastic PhD candidate for a recently funded project: the Virtual Human Platform for Safety Assessment (VHP4Safety), the world’s first platform to determine the safety of chemicals and pharmaceuticals for human health based solely on human biology. By integrating innovations in data science, exposure models, knowledge on human physiology and specific vulnerable groups, human tissue culture models, and transition management, VHP4Safety will spearhead the transition to animal-free safety assessment. The VHP4Safety consortium consists of leading scientific groups from Dutch universities, university medical centers, public health institutes and applied research organizations, with expertise spanning the technological, biological, chemical, medical as well as the social sciences.

Your research will focus on understanding thyroid disruption mediated adverse effects on the development of the central nervous system. In particular, the project includes:

  • charting the critical physiological pathways and mechanisms in normal biology of thyroid homeostasis and its role in development of the central nervous system based on available and new experimental and human data,
  • establishment of a quantitative Adverse Outcome pathway network involved in thyroid disruption,
  • identification of compound induced thyroid disruption and related effects in human advanced in vitro models such as stem cell assays and thyroid cell assays, discriminated by age and gender,
  • assessment of thyroid disruption in relation to age and gender

You will work in an interdisciplinary team with various types of expertise, e.g., data science, exposure science, toxicology and regulatory safety assessment.
As a PhD student, you will be based at the Centre for Health Protection within the Department of Innovative Testing Strategies of the RIVM. The department consists of a group of 25 enthusiastic scientific researchers, technicians and PhD students. For the experimental work, you will closely collaborate with the Department of Endocrinology, Erasmus medical Center (EUR), Rotterdam. As PhD candidate, you will also regularly interact with other partners of the consortium. Your promotion will be at Utrecht University, with (co)promotores from UU/RIVM and EUR.

Meer over jouw toekomstige afdeling

( is one of the 12 research centers at RIVM and focuses on human adverse health effects of chemical substances, biological agents and particles, with a special focus on pharmaceuticals, medical devices, tobacco, consumer products and the interaction with life style factors. Within these topics, novel developments are monitored, and both laboratory and desk research is performed to better understand and explain adverse health effects. GZB has a broad laboratory infrastructure, including chemical analysis, cell biology and imaging laboratories. Research results are translated into advice for policymakers, risk assessors and scientists within (inter)national bodies. In addition, within GZB, we offer a social environment with multidisciplinary teams and an informal structure. For PhD candidates, RIVM offers the promovendi network RIVM (Proneri) to connect with other PhD candidates at the institute.

The Department for Innovative Testing Strategies (Vernieuwing Test Strategieën, VTS) gives advice to policymakers from different Ministries (VWS, I&W, LNV) on the risks of exposure to chemical substances, nanomaterials and medical devices and on alternatives to animal testing. The department generates novel scientific knowledge and insights on these topics and translates this knowledges into advice for (inter)national governments and regulatory institutes. The main aim of the research performed at VTS is to use scientific knowledge on molecular and cellular mechanisms of toxicity to improve the risk assessment of substances in an innovative way. Within VTS there is special focus on carcinogenesis, reproductive toxicology, genetic toxicology, neurotoxicology, immunotoxicology, inhalation toxicology, and endocrine disruption.


As the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), we are a professional, reliable and independent advisor to the government, professionals and private citizens. Our goal is a healthy population in a sustainable, safe and healthy living environment. We monitor health, diseases, the quality of nature and the living environment. To this end, we conduct research and gather knowledge for accessible information and usable advice. RIVM provides good birth screening, combats infectious diseases and plays a central role in the National Immunisation Programme and population screening. We investigate what is needed for good care, a healthy lifestyle, safe products and a safe and healthy living environment. We also contribute to preventing, combating and managing incidents and crises.

All our advice, reports, fact sheets and publications are produced by our 2100 or so staff from our head office in Bilthoven and - as from 2023 - from a beautiful new building at the Utrecht Science Park . Our work is guided by the issues of today and tomorrow – from our position at the heart of society. We are proud of our organisation, which offers a warm welcome to everyone. As a governmental knowledge institute we want to be a reflection of society. In addition to talent, experience and motivation, aspects of identity such as age, orientation, cultural background or disability also make our organisation richer, more innovative and more fun. With such diverse backgrounds, perspectives and insights, we are all working to achieve even better results!

Also curious about how others experience working at the RIVM? Watch it on RIVM-ers aan het woord | RIVM


Voor meer informatie over deze vacature:

Aldert Piersma, Professor of Reproductive Toxicology

Voor meer informatie over de sollicitatieprocedure:

Frank Alders



Digitaal solliciteren

RIVM nodigt je uit op hun site te solliciteren. Via onderstaande knop verlaat je deze site ga je direct naar het sollicitatieformulier. Het Rijk hecht waarde aan een diverse en inclusieve organisatie. Werken in divers samengestelde teams maakt ons effectiever, innovatiever en het werk leuker. Eenieder wordt daarom uitgenodigd te solliciteren.

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