PhD Position: AOP approaches to link chemical exposures to chemicals to adverse outcomes

The University of Wageningen is offering a PhD position in an AOP approach to link chemical exposures to chemicals to adverse outcomes.

Deadline: Sun 10 March 2024

Your job

Are you a talented aspiring researcher who is interested in improving risk assessment methods that truly benefit biodiversity and people? Do you want to better understand species’ sensitivity toward chemicals? Then read on and apply!

We invite applications for the PhD position entitled: ‘AOP approaches to link chemical exposures to chemicals to adverse outcomes’. This research will be performed at the Toxicology department of Wageningen University, in close collaboration with fall a cooperation with the Environmental Risk Assessment Team of Wageningen Environmental Research and the Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality group of Wageningen University, all belonging to Wageningen University & Research.

In this cooperation, you will co-develop an assessment framework for understanding the underlying mechanisms causing adverse effects of chemicals and to identify the key molecular initiating events driving biochemical and biological traits which may result in some species more sensitive than others. Such a mechanistic approach is essential to increase understand and predict toxicity.

In the EnSa (early environmental safety) project you will collaborate with researchers from the Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management, Toxicology and Environmental Technology groups of Wageningen University, and will be encouraged to collaborate with other researchers within WUR, for example through the Wageningen Biodiversity Initiative (WUR launches Wageningen Biodiversity Initiative – WUR).

Specific objectives include, but are not limited to:

  • Collect and curate mode of action, molecular initiating and other biochemical or individual level key events;
  • Identify the major data gaps (e g. mechanistic understanding of links between exposures and effects, quantitively link species-specific sensitivity to certain chemical modes of action);
  • Perform single species toxicodynamic ecotoxicity experiments to fill the data gaps, applying molecular/biochemical tools including omics
  • Apply the developed data repository for targeted proof of concept studies;
  • Explore the usefulness of quantitative adverse outcome pathways, a generalized extrapolation framework and expand their application domains across-species and a wider range of chemicals;
  • Contribute to the main aim to extrapolate the sensitivity of surrogate species to other species via understanding of the underlying toxicity mechanisms leading from exposures to adverse outcomes.

Your qualities

For this PhD position, we are searching an enthusiastic result-driven candidate with:

  • an MSc degree in a relevant discipline in environmental sciences, molecular life sciences, biology or related area;
  • the ability to work in multidisciplinary and international teams; 
  • oral and written proficiency in English (C1 level);
  • Experience with the development and use of ecotoxicological models and biostatistical approaches is an advantage.

The PhD project will take place within the Environmental Toxicology team of the department of Toxicology of Wageningen University (Toxicology – WUR). You will be supervised by Prof. Nico van den Brink and Prof. Paul van den Brink of the Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management group of Wageningen University. 

Offer to you

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • Partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

Do you want more information?

For more information about this position, please refer to this link:

Or contact prof Nico van den Brink, professor Environmental Toxicology at the sub-department of Toxicology:

For more information about the procedure, please contact Rutger Voorrips, Corporate Recruiter,