Academic Positions Europe

University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Doctoral Candidates (PhD students) in Systems Biomedicine

The graduation program “Critics” at the University of Luxembourg recently established in the frame of the PRIDE scheme of the Luxembourg National Research Fund has open positions for

Doctoral Candidates (PhD students) in Systems Biomedicine (m/f)

  • Ref. PRIDE
  • Fixed- term 14 months initial contract, extendable to 36 months, full-time (40 hours/week)
  • Student status

The successful applicants will be a member of the highly interdisciplinary and truly collaborative graduate school on early warning signals and critical transitions in complex systems. This inter-institutional research group will integrate experimental biology and biomedicine approaches with mathematical concepts from non-equilibrium physics, system control theory and finance mathematics to develop the foundation of a future predictive, preventive and personalised medicine.

Your Role


Catastrophic events occur in various fields and at various levels. Examples include earthquakes, stock market crashes, and, for individuals, the onset of diseases such as cancer.
If we could understand the critical transitions (CTs) that induce catastrophes, we would be better equipped to prevent them arising or at least to mitigate their effects. Yet, despite much multidisciplinary endeavour, current tools often lack rigorous theoretical foundation and sometimes exhibit poor predictive power. The proposed research confronts this problem within a range of disciplines in the areas of clinical science, immunology, biology, and finance. Diverse approaches will be employed, including data collection (from new experiments and literature), statistical analysis, mathematical modelling, and theory development.
Through synthesising the work undertaken within each discipline, the project as a whole is designed to enable the development of a more robust, generalised, interdisciplinary theory of CTs. Such theory may be used, first, to classify CTs according to their dynamics and then to provide the foundations for: a) identifying early warning signals to enable more timely, reliable, predictions of catastrophes;
b) developing tools to model, analyse, and detect CTs in diverse areas of application.
Ultimately, the goal of the project overall is two-fold: to support more advanced research of CTs within scientific disciplines; and, in multiple fields, to improve society’s ability to anticipate CTs to undesirable states.
The proposed project entails twelve doctoral students, ten supervisors, and three external researchers. Its ambition for the students is not only to enable them to achieve more than discipline-specific expertise, but also to experience first-hand the development of integrated research that a) produces cross-fertilisation between disciplines, b) synthesises empirical investigation and theoretical development, and c) combines pure and applied scientific approaches.


  • Obtain a PhD in systems biology or biomedicine.
  • Be part of the doctoral school involving different interdisciplinary groups and backgrounds.
  • These particular studentships are of experimental nature with respect to the specific subprojects of
    • Transitions in microbial ecosystems (Paul Wilmes)
    • Transition from healthy to melanoma cancer cells (Stephanie Kreis)
    • Seizure characterisation in zebrafish epilepsy (Alexander Crawford)
    • Single-cell omics data to characterise disease dynamics (Rudi Balling)
    • Stress-related T cell dynamics in immunology (Feng He)
    • The mitochondrial genome in PD (Anne Grünewald)
Your Profile
  • Strong background in molecular biology.
  • The ideal candidate would hold a Master in biology, biotechnology or similar field.
  • If not already covered in their background, students must also learn advanced methods of data analysis and will get basic background in theory of dynamical systems.
  • Excellent working knowledge of English.
Further Information

Applications should contain the following documents:

  • A detailed Curriculum vitae that includes your class rank.
  • A motivation letter, including a brief description of past research experience and future interests. If possible, please include the name of a potential supervisor from the above list.
  • Copies of diploma and transcripts.
  • Please ask at least two references to email their confidential letters directly to Mrs Brigitte Melchior ( within two weeks of submitting the application.

Only complete applications will be considered.

Review of applicants will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.

For further information, please contact Alex Skupin ( or one of the above researchers.

The University of Luxembourg is an equal opportunity employer. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

University of Luxembourg

The University of Luxembourg aspires to be one of Europe’s most highly regarded universities with a distinctly international, multilingual and interdisciplinary character.

Application details

Application deadline:

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