Postdoctoral researcher in computational drug discovery

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The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Academic Center for Drug Research are looking for a

Postdoctoral researcher in computational drug discovery

Project description
At present, no useful tools are available to integrate the increasing amount of data available from patients into improved preclinical test models. In this project we will narrow this gap by merging various technologies and knowledge bases from different partners at the Leiden BioScience Park: combine artificial intelligence and disease biology through (pre)clinical data.

We apply this approach to organ fibrosis, a fast-growing health problem and until today there are no approved therapies to reverse advanced fibrosis or even halt fibrosis progression. Fibrosis can affect various organs, leading to a disrupted tissue architecture and subsequent disruption of tissue function. While fibrotic disorders can differ in etiology and symptoms, they are all generally triggered by a persistent injury induced by a variety of causes, including autoimmune reactions, persistent infections, and chronic exposure to toxins or particles

The project is a collaborative effort between Leiden University, TNO, Galapagos NV and Stichting Proefdiervrij. You’ll become part of multidisciplinary teams of scientists and technicians at LACDR and TNO, and work together to reach the team deliverables. At LACDR you will be embedded in the Computational Drug Discovery group. The lab has access to a wide range of software tools (including industry standard packages such as Schrödinger and Pipeline Pilot), an extensive set of both CPU and GPU compute resources, and the recently established university HPC environment ALICE. At TNO you will be part of the department Metabolic Health Research, which develops innovations within the preclinical and clinical phases of medicine development.

The aim of this project is to integrate AI computational technologies with for experimental data from patients and in vitro models in order to better reflect the patient situation by preclinical in vitro models.

Selection criteria
We are looking for a highly motivated candidate, who has:

  • A PhD degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Bioinformatics, Life Sciences, Computational Chemistry, or related disciplines;
  • Prior experience with fibrosis research is an advantage;
  • An interest and track record in cell biology;
  • Experience with python and machine learning libraries: sklearn, pytorch/tensorflow/jax;
  • Collaborative mind set;
  • Open minded: seeing the challenge of integrating different research areas;
  • Good technical skills.

The candidate should feel comfortable working in a collaborative environment. Initiative, creativity and an independent working attitude are highly valued. Planned start date end of July 2021, or soon thereafter.

Our organisations
The Leiden Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. Our people are driven by curiosity to expand fundamental knowledge and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is diverse, ranging from artificial intelligence, computer science, mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,300 staff and almost 5,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together. For more information, see the website of the Faculty of Science.

TNO is an independent research organization whose expertise and research make an important contribution to the competitiveness of companies and organizations, to the economy and to the quality of society as a whole. Within the unit Healthy Living we develop innovations within the preclinical and clinical phases of medicine development, aiming to greatly reduce the failure rate of essential new medicines. This will make it possible to cut development costs and to get drugs to patients sooner on the market. For more information, look at the website of TNO.

Terms and conditions
We offer a position for 1 year, to be extended to 3 years after a positive evaluation (on the basis of 0.8 or 1.0 FTE). Salary ranges from € 2,790.- to € 4,402.- gross per month based on a full-time employment, (pay scale 10 in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside The Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Enquiries can be made to Gerard van Westen, email If you have any questions about the procedure, please contact secretary Lia Hinne, email

To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to Planned starting date is July 2021. Please ensure that you quote the vacancy number and include the following documents in your application:

  • A letter of motivation;
  • An updated CV, including a list of publications;
  • A copy of your PhD thesis and degree;
  • At least three references, including names, affiliations and email addresses.

Only applications received no later than June 14th 2021 can be considered.

fulltime, parttime
Type vacature:




Wat wij bieden

Parttime - Fulltime

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