The closing date for this job has passed; return to the main list for other jobs

We are looking for a postdoc researcher to find out why the infectious disease death rates declined over the past two centuries.

Postdoc Analysing Infectious Disease Data

The position
We are looking for a postdoc researcher with an active interest in Infectious Disease Data Analysis. We have a very rich and detailed dataset on infectious disease deaths in the city of Amsterdam over the years 1854-1926, and we are interested in finding the causes for the rapid decline in death rates over this period.

In short
• You hold a recent PhD in the exact sciences
• You have experience with statistical analysis of data
• You are an academic researcher in a highly productive team
• You will be responsible for the statistical analysis of a treasure trove of infectious disease data
• You will focus on why death rates due to infectious diseases decreased sharply over the past centuries

What you will do
You will be part of a research team that investigates why death rates due to infectious diseases decreased sharply over the past centuries. In this multidisciplinary project you will work at the interface between infectious disease dynamics and data science. You will be responsible for the statistical analysis of a treasure trove of infectious disease data, collected by historical demographers. Specifically, you will (i) visualise the mortality data by cause of death, and visualise factors that are thought to have caused a decline in mortality rates; (ii) analyse the mortality data by quantifying the contribution of these factors to the observed time of death and age at death; (iii) develop the statistical tools for such an analysis by extending statistical models currently used in infectious disease analysis and in survival analysis; (iv) communicate the results by writing articles and publishing them in international scientific journals, by giving presentations at conferences, and by contributing to exhibitions for the general public. You will organize project meetings, and contribute research results to the project’s database.

The department
The Department of Biomedical Data Sciences is a broadly oriented department with a strong emphasis on quantitative methods in health sciences. The department consists of different research groups, embedded in five overarching themes: Medical Statistics, Molecular Epidemiology, Medical Decision Making, Bioinformatics and Data Management. You will work within the theme Medical Statistics, in the research group on statistical analysis of infectious disease data, led by Jacco Wallinga.

What we ask
You are a highly motivated candidate who has recently obtained a PhD degree in mathematics, physics, biostatistics, bioinformatics, econometrics, data visualization or a similar discipline. You have an interest in infectious disease data analysis, and are not afraid to work with historical demographers. Also, you are committed to work as part of a dynamic, international, productive and multidisciplinary team. To this end, you possess solid communication skills in written and spoken English. You have strong analytical skills, can work with large datasets and have sound knowledge of a programming language such as R.

The project
Our high standard of living is due to a large increase in life expectancy that was achieved in the last two centuries. This large increase in life expectance, in turn, resulted from the decline in infectious diseases as a cause of death. Various determinants have been proposed as drivers for this development, and there is an ongoing debate about the relative importance of each of those factors. We have a rich historical data set on all deaths occurring in the city of Amsterdam over the period 1854-1926, including cause of death, age, sex, marital status and address. The data thus encompass long and detailed time series for many different infectious diseases including smallpox, scarlet fever, measles, and diphtheria. We also have information on the timing of interventions lead to improvements of drinking water and hygiene, and on economic factors. The research project aims to identify the principal determinants driving this decline in infectious disease deaths. Three postdoctoral researchers will work on this project, each focussing on one of three arenas in which the effects of mortality determinants are played out: 1) the urban disease environment, 2) the life course and the family, and 3) the physical urban environment at the neighbourhood and street level. This position for postdoctoral researcher focuses on the first arena, and it will be based in the Department of Biomedical Data Sciences, Leiden University Medical Center. The two other postdoctoral researchers will focus on the other arenas and will be based in Radboud Group for Historical Demography. The research project is funded by NWO.

fulltime, 36 hours per week
Duration: 3 years
Salary: max. € 4,481

We expect a motivation letter, stating how your research interests compare with this project, your CV with contact information of two referees, and a relevant publication or preprint

Contact: Prof. Jacco Wallinga, professor, Department of Biomedical Data Sciences
+31 71 526 85 99

Leiden University Medical Center
Closing date
November 10th, 2019
Posted on
October 18th, 2019 15:13
Last updated
October 18th, 2019 15:13