About the function: Aging is accompanied by a reduced functioning of body organs, and the development of age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes. The simplest measure of aging is chronological age expressed in years of life. However, this measure has no underlying biological significance, and scientific research on “biological” aging has recently revealed 9 different molecular processes involved in the aging process. We recently showed that biological aging starts in early life and we observed that children are born with different biological ages. How these different markers of aging relate to each other at birth and what the possible health consequences are throughout life is not known.

In this PhD project, an in-depth evaluation and understanding of molecular aging at birth will be studied at different molecular levels (epigenomics, genomics, proteomics). In addition, the importance of these processes will be studied in relation to cardiovascular changes early in life. This study is part of the ENVIRONAGE birth cohort and includes children who are followed up from birth to childhood.

You are part of a large, interdisciplinary institute with a broad international and national network. You participate in the Doctoral School of Sciences & Technology. As a PhDstudent you will conduct research, write and publish scientific articles, participate in (inter)national conferences with the aim of writing a PhD dissertation. You will also have some limited teaching tasks.

About us: Your research activities are situated in the research group of Environmental Biology (Department of Biology) and the Center for Environmental Science (CMK), a multidisciplinary research institute in the field of environmental sciences.


  • You have obtained a master’s degree in biomedical sciences, biology, molecular biology, bio science engineering or equivalent.
  • In depth knowledge in molecular biology and practical laboratory skills (DNA analysis, qPCR, omics,…) are a plus.
  • You have experience with statistical and bioinformatic tools for processing molecular data.
  • You are cooperative and can work well in teams.
  • You are fluent in written and oral communication.
  • You are able to clearly present and report research hypotheses, results and discussions of experiments, both orally and in written peer-reviewed publications.


  • You will be appointed and paid as PhD student.
  • You will be appointed for a period of 2×2 years (after positive evaluation).
  • Selection process; The selection procedure consists of a preselection based on application file and an interview.

Additional comments: For substantive questions, send an e-mail to tim.nawrot@uhasselt.be  or dries.martens@uhasselt.be.  For questions about the selection procedure, please email jobs@uhasselt.be.

Apply now

Application Deadline:  27 Mar 2023 – 23:59 (Europe/Brussels)

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