PhD position on Optimizing Antibacterial Dosing in Special Patient Populations

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
November 01, 2022
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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PhD position on Optimizing Antibacterial Dosing in Special Patient


(ref. BAP-2022-696)

Last modification : Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The unit Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy is looking for a PhD researcher to investigate the optimization of antibacterial dosing in special patient populations. The PhD project will be performed in close collaboration between the Dpt. of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, KU Leuven and the Clinical Pharmacy Dpt. of the University Hospitals Leuven. We are a vibrant and motivated research group focusing on antimicrobial PKPD, with multiple national and international collaborations. We are embedded in the clinical pharmacy group of the hospital pharmacy dpt. of the University Hospitals, and we have a strong link with multiple researchers and healthcare providers. The team recently developed different dosing strategies to optimize the exposure to several antibiotics broadly used to treat severe bacterial infections. The PhD candidate will evaluate the effect of these dosing strategies on both clinical outcomes (i.e., pharmacodynamics) and exposure (i.e., pharmacokinetics) in prospective (interventional) trials. The PhD candidate will also evaluate antibacterial dosing in specific and understudied patient populations (e.g., continuous renal replacement therapy). These studies will be completed with retrospective research.

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The dosing of antibiotics – and many other drugs – has been derived from rather stable patient populations. However, it is now widely accepted that standard doses are not adequate (i.e., unacceptable efficacy and/or toxicity) in patients with severe bacterial infections, who show extensive pharmacokinetic variability. This is often referred to as the ‘one dose does not fit all' paradigm.

Over the last decade, our research group contributed substantially to the identification and characterisation of inappropriate antimicrobial dosing. In partnership with the Leuven Pharmacometrics group, we modelled the exposure to several antibiotics and simulated different optimized dosing strategies. We are now taking the next step, which is to validate these dosing strategies and to evaluate their effect on clinical outcome. It is our ultimate aim to improve patient outcome and provide easy-to-apply and cost-effective dosing strategies for antibiotics.

The aims of this PhD project are, amongst others:

  • To evaluate the impact of a dose stratification strategy of ceftriaxone on the clinical outcome of patients with severe pneumonia, in a multicentre Belgian interventional trial.
  • To evaluate the impact of different dose optimization strategies of meropenem on the clinical outcome in patients with sepsis.
  • To evaluate model-based vancomycin dosing in a hospital-wide adult population.
  • To evaluate the exposure to ceftazidime-avibactam in critically ill patients supported by continuous renal replacement therapy, in a multicentre international observational trial.
  • Profile
  • Master in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Drug Development, Biomedical sciences, Medicine or any related field with specific interest in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.
  • You are highly motivated to work in a scientific and clinical environment.
  • You will engage yourself with enthusiasm and perseverance to a four-year research project.
  • You are ambitious, dynamic, flexible and take an open attitude towards problems and evolutions.
  • You have a collaborative spirit.
  • You are able to independently generate precise and reliable data and to interpret them.
  • You are willing to acquire deeper knowledge in statistical techniques and software (e.g. R software).
  • You have good written and oral knowledge of both Dutch and English.
  • You have excellent communication skills to deal with all stakeholders in this field.
  • You have good didactic skills and you can coach and motivate other colleagues.
  • You are willing to supervise and coach Master's students.
  • Offer

    We offer you a full time position within a highly motivated research group with relevant experience and expertise. For this job, a contract of 1 year is offered which will be extended yearly to a period of 4 years, after a positive evaluation.


    For more information please contact Prof. dr. Isabel Spriet, tel.: +3216341261, mail: or Matthias Gijsen, PhD, tel.: +32 16 37 91 74, mail: Interviews will take place between December, 5 and December, 23, 2022.

    KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

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