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PhD position in high-dimensional data analysis in relation to oral health

Faculty of Dentistry – Department of Preventive Dentistry

PhD position in high-dimensional data analysis in relation to oral health
Publication date 1 July 2019
Closing date 19 August 2019
Level of education Master's degree
Hours 38 hours per week
Salary indication €2,325 to €2,972 gross per month
Vacancy number 19-441

ACTA is the collaboration of the Faculties of Dentistry at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam. We focus on all aspects of dentistry: from specialized training to outstanding research and the highest-quality patient care.

Working at ACTA is working on leading international research and training. In 2017, ACTA ranked eighth in the QS World University Rankings. In addition to being an educational and research institution, ACTA also provides healthcare services. You will be working with peers from a variety of disciplines. ACTA has nearly 500 staff members and around 900 students who are taking the Dentistry programme. Around 300 patients visit ACTA every day on average.

The department of Preventive Dentistry at ACTA, in collaboration with the VUmc Big Statistics group and the UvA Complexity Science group, is looking for a PhD student in high-dimensional data analysis. The focus will be on constructing predictive models that integrate oral health-related multidimensional datasets.

Project description

Although the most prevalent oral diseases – dental caries (tooth decay) and periodontal (gum) disease – are preventable, the worldwide burden of these diseases remains high. Disease risk is influenced by an interplay between the behavioral and biological factors of the individual. Therefore, a more tailored or personalized approach is needed at the level of an individual.

In this 3-year PhD project, we will address the oral cavity as a complex ecosystem at an individual level and model oral health using multi-dimensional data, such as microbiome, metabolome, clinical and biochemical data from a cohort of healthy young individuals. The PhD candidate will develop state-of-the-art methods to jointly analyze large datasets. The resulting model will subsequently serve as basis for a prediction model of oral health outcomes.


We are looking for a PhD candidate with:

  • an MSc in either Statistics, Computational Science, Systems Biology or a closely related discipline;
  • good statistical knowledge enabling the development of new models and analysis tools;
  • experience developing computational and/or statistical models and simulations;
  • good programming skills and good R knowledge;
  • excellent command of the English language (reading, writing and speaking);
  • the ability to explain complex ideas to biologists/non-specialists;
  • the ability to work independently, as well as a part of a multidisciplinary team;
  • affinity with biology.

Previous knowledge of any of the areas involved in the project, such as mixed-effects models, Bayesian statistics, high-dimensional biological data analysis, are an advantage.

Further information

If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, please contact:


A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,325 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €2,835 (PhD) per month during the third year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.
The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 2 years.

Additionally, ACTA offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment;
  • an 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus and 
  • a solid pension scheme (ABP).

​The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the link below and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter before 20 August 2019.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.​ #LI-DNP     

No agencies please

Apply now