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PhD position – Free steroid hormones in health and disease (FRESH-HD) (ref. BAP-2023-786)

The laboratory of clinical and experimental endocrinology at KULeuven is currently seeking a dynamic and motivated Ph.D. researcher.


In routine clinical practice, diagnosis and treatment of endocrine diseases rely mostly on total steroid hormone levels. However, these hormones typically bind to specific proteins and albumin in circulation, with only a small fraction circulating freely. The 'free hormone hypothesis' proposes that this free fraction is responsible for the biological activity of hormones. Unfortunately, measuring free steroid hormone levels is technically challenging, limiting their implementation in clinical practice.

In our research group, we are dedicated to enhancing the clinical applicability of free steroid hormone concentrations in patients with specific conditions and endocrine diseases. We employ state-of-the-art methodology, particularly mass spectrometry, to investigate the clinical relevance of free steroid hormones.

The main objectives of your research will be:

  • Development, optimization and validation of methods to measure free steroid hormones
  • Investigating binding protein-hormone interactions
  • Studying the interplay between health parameters and free hormones


  • We are seeking an enthusiastic candidate with a Master's degree in Medicine, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Rehabilitation Sciences, Bioscience Engineering, Biochemical Engineering Technology or a related field.
  • You should possess a genuine interest in advancing hormone measurements and integrating research findings into clinical practice.
  • Strong communication and organizational skills are essential, along with a keen enthusiasm for collaborating with a diverse range of partners in a multidisciplinary setting.
  • Excellent communication skills in English, both verbal and written.


  • Duration of contract: 1-year full-time PhD scholarship, extendable upon positive evaluation.
  • Starting date: as soon as possible
  • Funding is available for 2 years. You will also pursue additional funding.
  • Excellent working conditions: https://www.kuleuven.be/person...;
  • As a partner of the Leuven International Doctoral School Biomedical Sciences (https://gbiomed.kuleuven.be/english/phd) and YouReCa (https://www.kuleuven.be/english/research/youreca), we offer you the opportunity to take part in a broad spectrum of activities that are related to training, education and career development.

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Leen Antonio, tel.: +32 16 37 27 21, mail: leen.antonio@kuleuven.be.

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.




Health Care
Apply before: 18/12/2023

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