Vacancies 92341-PhD-candidate-CUP-fight-detecting-the-origin-of-metastatic-disease
  • 36 hours a week
  • Stand: Nijmegen
  • Temporary
  • 3 years
  • Date of publication: 13 January 2021
  • Deadline: 3 February 2021
  • Scale 10A: min € 2495 - max € 3196 gross per month at full employment (excl. vacation bonus and end of year payments)
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Job description

Do you want to make a difference for patients with cancer? Then you should join our team!

In this PhD-project, you will investigate metastatic patterns in order to develop and validate artificial intelligence-based decision support tools for patients with CUP. Together with your team of supervisors, you will study large datasets of pathology reports, use artificial intelligence to search for metastatic patterns and perform statistical analyses to determine the clinical relevance.  

Our team, a collaboration between the department of Pathology of the Radboudumc and the department of Medical Oncology of the Amsterdam UMC, has been awarded a Hanarth foundation grant to develop and validate artificial intelligence-based decision support tools for patients with cancer of unknown primary. Based on data of the national pathology archive, the Dutch cancer registry and expert opinions, we aim to improve the poor prognosis of these patients.

Cancer of unknown primary sites (CUP) refer to all metastatic cancers where no primary location has been determined. This patient group accounts for 2.5% of all newly diagnosed cancer patients. The outcomes in this patient group are poor, because treatment is usually based on the primary location of the cancer. Even with the current improved diagnostic methods, ever year approximately 1,300 patients are diagnosed with CUP in the Netherlands. Their survival is less than 6 months.

With artificial intelligence, we will explore big data in order to determine metastatic patterns of patients with a known primary location and develop a probability model based on metastatic location. We will subsequently incorporate routinely used biomarkers to optimize decision making, which we will test in a proof-of-concept study. As a result of our study we will deliver a prediction model that can be used in a prospective clinical trial to improve outcomes of patients with CUP.

This project is part of the Research Theme "Tumors of the Digestive Tract", one of the core themes of the Radboud university medical center. You will be part of a cross-disciplinary research team striving to do world-class science and answer many questions about cancer. The Radboud University in collaboration with the Radboudumc has recently launched the  “AI for life” strategy initiative, in which the PhD can take part. 


We are seeking a highly motivated candidate with a structured and accurate working style and with strong self-motivation, flexibility, and persistence. You are demanding high quality of your own work. Beside this you have well-developed skills to work in a multidisciplinary team. 

Furthermore you have (most of) the following qualifications:

  • Master degree in Biomedical Sciences, (Medical) Biology, Medicine, or a relevant other discipline.
  • Interest and/or experience in data science (artificial intelligence).
  • Affinity with analysis of large data sets.
  • Good English writing and presentation skills.


You will join a multidisciplinary team at the department of Pathology lead by Prof. dr. Iris Nagtegaal (Pathologist), and epidemiologist Dr. Martijn van Oijen (department of Medical Oncology, Amsterdam UMC). The research team for this project consists of one additional PhD candidate. We will train and mentor you during the course of this project. You will join the PhD program of the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (RIMLS).

Research Institutes
At the moment there are more than 1,300 PhD candidates at our medical hospital. This number includes PhD candidates on our pay roll as well as external candidates (those employed somewhere else but researching on our premises).
  • Radboud Institute for Health Sciences: ± 700
  • Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences: ± 400
  • Donders Center for Medical Neurosciences: ± 200
Read what it is like to do a PhD at the Radboud University Medical Center.

Radboudumc in Nijmegen strives to be a leading developer of sustainable, innovative and affordable healthcare to improve the health and wellbeing of people and society in the Netherlands and beyond. This is the core of our mission: To have a significant impact on healthcare. To get a better picture of what this entails, check out our strategy.

Read more about what it means to work at Radboudumc and what our people have to say about it.

Employment conditions

Upon commencement of employment we require a certificate of conduct (Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag, VOG) and there will be, depending on the type of job, a screening based on the provided cv. Radboud university medical center’s HR Department will apply for this certificate on your behalf.

Read more about the Radboudumc employment conditions and what our International Office can do for you when moving to the Netherlands.

Comments and contact information

All additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from Prof. Iris Nagtegaal , Full Professor. Use the Apply button to submit your application.

Please apply before 3 February.
Recruitment agencies are asked not to respond to this job posting.

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