Treeway is looking for a Post-doc to support extensive bio-informatic analysis

Post-doc Neurogenetics (position for 2 years)

A postdoctoral position is available in the laboratory of Prof. J.H. Veldink at the Brain Center Rudolf Magnus (BCRM) at the UMC Utrecht, The Netherlands. The highly motivated and enthusiastic candidate will work at the forefront of genetics in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS; a rapidly progressive, invariably fatal neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells responsible for controlling voluntary muscles). Through Project MinE ( we have assembled a unique genomic dataset in the field of ALS, including epigenetics, whole genome sequencing, and clinical data of several thousands of patients and matched controls. Recently the first results of this dataset were published (Van Rheenen et al. Nat Genet. 2016 (PMID: 27455348), and Kenna et al. Nat. Genet. 2016 (PMID: 27455347)).

Your focus will be on exploring adding external controls and cases to this dataset while preserving type I error in case-control comparisons, annotating the non-coding genome by integrating our data with other publicly available omics datalayers, including RNAseq, Hi-C and Chip-seq and relating this to case-control status. Another type of genomic variation potentially related to ALS we are interested in, is structural variation. This means you need to have experience in working with raw sequencing data on a large number of samples and be able to apply complex genetic statistics in this context. There is a suitable ICT setup available for you to achieve this.

We expect you to be able to use various bioinformatic tools on next-generation sequencing data and combine these to identify possible novel ALS risk genes, and pathological pathways. Also, we would like you to integrate these genetic data with drug databases in order to prioritize potential new drug targets for ALS and repurpose existing drugs for ALS. This part of the work will be done in collaboration with patient founded biotech company Treeway.

You will also be expected to participate in writing scientific papers and grant applications, provide methodological advice to other members of the team (bioinformaticians, PhD students, postdocs and technicians), and participate in educating bachelor and master students.

About ALS

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating progressive, neurodegenerative disease that causes death of motor neuron populations. The loss of motor neurons leads to muscle weakness, difficulty in swallowing, speech and eventual paralysis. Average disease duration is 2-5 years. It is an orphan disease with an incidence of 2 of 100.000, and a life chance of 1:300. Its occurrence is mostly between the age of 40-60 years, although also at other ages ALS is diagnosed. Of all diagnoses, 10% is familial and 90% is ‘sporadic’. For the familial form, different genes have been identified, although the exact mechanism of the cause and the progress of ALS is unknown. Currently, there is only one approved ALS drug therapy, riluzole, but this is prolonging life by only 3 months. Therefore, there is an urgent need for improved drug therapy.

Required skills & expertise

  • A PhD in biostatistics or complex genetics or next generation sequencing and affinity with neurodegenerative diseases
  • Extensive experience in statistical testing and bioinformatics scripting in order to handle large genomic datasets, including genotyping data but also raw genomics data
  • This experience is shown from scientific publications in this area
  • Experience in the use of biochemical databases
  • Curious, enthusiastic, result-driven
  • Excellent communication skills and a clear style of writing in the English language
  • Experience in the writing of research proposals


Your are able to use various bioinformatic tools and be able to combine these in a unique way for the purpose of identifying possible pathological pathways, new ‘druggable’ targets, and for stratification of patients in clinical trial design. We also ask for participation in the writing of scientific papers and grant applications, providing methodological advice to other members of the team (bioinformaticians, PhD students, postdocs, technicians), and participate in education of bachelor and master students. You will closely work together with Treeway to translate your findings in potential new therapy.

We can offer

For this 100% post, the maximum salary will be €4,152. This will be a temporary appointment for 2 years.

The department

You will be working at the Brain Center Rudolf Magnus (BCRM) at the UMC Utrecht. The BCRM encompasses research and patient care in neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry, rehabilitation and sports medicine as well as basic neurosciences and pharmacology. Priority areas are developmental disorders; psychotic disorders; motor neuron diseases; stroke; and refractory (child) epilepsy. These subjects link a common interest in structure and connections, genetic and environmental risk-factors, translational approaches and the relevance of research observations for patient care.

About Treeway

Treeway is a biotech company founded by ALS patients, and our mission is to change the devastating disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) into a chronic disease. Treeway Therapeutics aims to do rational target validation and drug development with a patient-driven fast-track focus and we have established high-potential research and development focus areas up to clinical phase II/III program leading to orphan drug status and early access. –