Applications are invited for a 4-year PhD fellowship, which will be conducted at the Center for Medical Genetics, Ghent University Hospital, Belgium.

The research project focusses on the study of molecular mechanisms underlying chronic pain in heritable connective tissue disorders. In this project, genetics, transcriptomics, extracellular matrix biochemistry, measurement of pain-related outcomes in preclinical models for the heritable collagen disorder ‘Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome’, immunohistochemistry, cell culture, and neuroanatomical imaging techniques will be used to investigate structural correlates to musculoskeletal pain and characterize sensory neurons that contribute to symptoms. Principal investigators on the project are at Ghent University are Prof. Dr. Fransiska Malfait (see and Dr. Delfien Syx (see We also have an ongoing collaboration with Anne-Marie Malfait ( at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, USA for this project.

We are looking for an enthusiastic and collaborative candidate who is dedicated to take advantage of a wide range of available resources. We offer a PhD training in a stimulating scientific environment. You will be registered in a Doctoral Schools program and will be able to attend the associated courses. You will have access to state-of-the-art research facilities and will be guided daily by well-trained professionals and get a thorough training in scientific thinking, practice, presentation and writing. The candidate will be encouraged and guided to apply for a personal fellowship. The default start date is October 1, 2022, but there is some flexibility.

Job profile

  • You have a good background in basic sciences.
  • You are willing to learn and adopt a variety of techniques of genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology.
  • You have (or are willing to obtain) a Felasa C certificate to work with laboratory animals.
  • You have excellent oral and written communication skills and have a good knowledge of English.
  • You are willing to stay abroad for some time to acquire new skills.
  • You aim for perfection and are practically skillful.
  • You are ambitious, inventive and have a long-term vision.
  • You are willing and capable to work as a team member.

How to apply

Applications including a CV, motivation letter and a copy of your study results should be sent electronically to Prof. Dr. Fransiska Malfait ( and Dr. Delfien Syx ( Please mention “PhD EDS pain” in the subject line of your email.
Preselected candidates will be invited for a (virtual) interview.
Starting date will be determined in agreement with the candidate.

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