PhD student Risk-based screening models for cervical cancer prevention

We are looking for an enthusiastic and ambitious PhD candidate to model the impact of risk-based screening for the prevention of cervical cancer. The aim is to inform the screening policy in the Netherlands and other European countries.

The project

Cervical cancer is caused by persistent infection with oncogenic types of human papillomavirus (HPV). The link between HPV and cervical cancer has led to two major innovations in preventive health care: HPV vaccination and HPV-based screening. With the influx of HPV-vaccinated women into population-based cervical cancer screening and the emergence of new, molecular screening techniques, there is an urgent need to reconsider the screening program. Instead of traditional “one-size-fits-all” screening programs, risk-based screening programs are being developed that take vaccination status, viral and host cell features, screening history, and time trends in HPV prevalence into account in screening invitation and triage policies, in order to reduce the harms of screening and better protect high-risk women.

About your role

As a PhD student, you will be involved in the model-based assessment of risk-based screening strategies for cervical cancer prevention. You will contribute to the further development of our statistical and mathematical HPV modelling framework, and apply simulation studies to weigh the costs, harms and health benefits of screening to identify equitable, acceptable and cost-effective strategies. You will work closely together with the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the European partners of the EU Horizon 2020 project RISCC.

Your main responsibilities are:

  • To further develop HPV disease models;
  • To calibrate simulation models to latest data on the epidemiology of HPV and cervical cancer;
  • To analyse the impact of screening for cervical cancer in HPV-vaccine eligible cohorts;
  • To contribute to the concept and methodology of risk-based screening;
  • To publish your research findings in peer-reviewed scientific journals;
  • To write a PhD thesis for defence at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

About you

We are looking for an econometrician, health economist, statistician or epidemiologist with strong analytical and programming skill and a strong interest in public health. You will be appointed within the Epidemiology and Data Science department of Amsterdam UMC, which aims to bring research and healthcare to a higher level through novel methodological contributions. Specifically, you have:

  • A MSc degree in econometrics, health economics, computational biology, biostatistics, epidemiology or related field;
  • Programming experience, preferably in R and C++;
  • Proven interest in the field of biomedical or public health research;
  • Good communication skills and the ability to work in a multi-disciplinary environment.

More details and how to apply