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Developing patient-tailored targeting of anti-inflammatory pathways in HFpEF (ref. BAP-2024-447)

Dr. Elizabeth Jones and Dr. Stephane Heymans are looking for a PhD candidate working in the Cardiovascular Sciences department at KU Leuven Belgium. You will be enrolled in the PhD programme of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and co-supervised by Drs. Jones and Heymans. The project is a component of a larger European consortium (HFpEF-DIVA), and will involve extensive interactions with partners in Spain and France.


HFpEF, or heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, is a form of heart failure where the heart is stiffer and fails to fill properly. It is also referred to as diastolic heart failure. HFpEF is within a larger family of cardiometabolic disease (CMD). These diseases arise because of metabolic dysregulation such as occurs in diabetes, obesity or hyperlipidemia. They are also characterized by the fact that they are driven by a mild chronic state of inflammation.

Though HFpEF is currently diagnosed as one diseases, there are several clusters of conditions that can give rise to diastolic heart failure. The HFpEF-DIVA consortium consists of a clinical partner that will be working on phenogrouping patients based on unbiased clustering algorithms, and then three fundamental science groups that will each develop a model of HFpEF to represent each patient group. All fundamental partners will perform the same readouts to compare how the different animal models relate to each other. We will then differentially target the diseases based on the inflammatory phenotype of each model.


• You will become experienced with animal models of diastolic heart failure, as well as the assessment of the phenotype using echocardiography, blood pressure measurements, blood collection and exercise tolerance testing.

• You will perform histology, imaging and molecular biology techniques (Western blotting and/or ELISAs).

• You will be responsible for administration and execution of the project.

• Strong molecular biology and cell culture skills are beneficial.

• You will be expected to present the work at conferences, lab meeting, and departmental meetings.


• The candidate must have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in a relevant discipline (Molecular Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Physiology).

• Strong interest in pursuing a career in research.

• The candidate must be a highly motivated, enthusiastic and efficient researcher.

• Good communication skills in English.

Note that in order to be eligible for this position, applicants:

• must not have a doctoral degree at the date of their recruitment.

• can be of any nationality.

• should be enrolled in a doctoral programme during the project.


As a PhD candidate, you will be employed for an initial 12 months. This will be extended for three additional year (for a total of 4 years) upon satisfactory progress.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Elizabeth Jones, mail:liz.jones@kuleuven.be

Apply before: 17/08/2024

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