Researcher in Immunology

Catholic University of Leuven

(ref. BAP-2023-507)
The Allergy and Clinical Immunology Research Group, and the Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmocotherapy unit are looking for a talented PhD candidate to study the impact of a non-invasive clinical decision support tool for antibiotic allergy label delabeling and refinement. The Allergy and Clinical Immunology Research Group (PI of this project, Prof. Dr. Rik Schrijvers, co-PI Dr. Liesbeth Gilissen) is part of the department of microbiology, immunology and transplantation, faculty of medicine, KU Leuven, Belgium. We are active on several lines of research (drug, food, and hymenoptera venom allergy research) and accommodates 2 postdocs, 10 PhD students, 3 senior technicians, 1 part-time data manager, supervised by 5 principal investigators (clinician-researchers). The lab combines hard work and a productive output with a familial atmosphere. The lab is embedded into the University Hospital, in close proximity of our collaborating groups. The Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy unit (co-PI, Prof. Isabel Spriet) is part of the Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences. In the context of this project the group of Prof. Spriet focusses on "check of medication appropriateness" for antimicrobial stewardship. Both groups have a longstanding collaboration on this topic. - Selected references (see also or Gilissen et al. Prevalence of Antibiotic Allergy Labels in a Tertiary Referral Center in Belgium. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in Practice 2021: S2213-2198: 185-189. Van De Sijpe et al. Non-invasive delabeling and refining of beta-lactam allergy labels in inpatients to optimize antimicrobial stewardship. Allergy 2022: 77: 3157-3159.


Antibiotic allergy labels are observed in 7% of inpatient's charts. Although they are often incorrect, they are associated with increased lengthof hospital stay, and use of second-line and broad-spectrum antibiotics. We recently prospectively evaluated, for the first time in Europe, a non-invasive delabeling protocol using a questionnaire medical file search and contact with primary care health care workers, in adult internal medicine inpatients with a beta-lactam antibiotic allergy label. We showed that up to half of the AAL could be removed or refined, demonstrating the potential of this strategy.  

In this project, we aim to optimize and assess the impact of a semi-automated non-invasive clinical decision support tool for antibiotic allergy label delabeling and refinement on antibiotic use, clinical, microbiological, and economical outcome in inpatients receiving antibiotic therapy, and inpatients receiving perioperative antibiotic prophylaxis. Therefore, a multicenter cross-over cluster-randomized controlled trial and a monocentered pre-post study (at the University Hospital of Leuven) will be performed. The work is performed within a multidisciplinary team of allergologists, clinical pharmacists, infectiologists and health economists, supported by IT and legal consultants.


  • You will aid in the automation of our approach, i.e., drafting the standard integrated reports and  constructing natural language processing algorithms for electronic patient record search, based on literature research and the expertise of the research team
  • You will be involved in the daily management of the clinical trials, i.e., patient recruitment and datacollection. 
  • You will be able to take up additional subtopics related to your project, depending on the progress of your work, personal initiatives.
  • The project requires careful planning, coordination and dedication. You will disseminate your results on national and international conferences, publish scientific reports and prepare and defend a doctoral thesis manuscript.


  • Master in Medical Sciences or Master in Pharmacy.
  • Graduation with distinction (or more).
  • Motivation and commitment for pursuing a PhD in allergy.
  • Experience with clinical trials is an asset.
  • Social skills to enable working in a dynamic environment, and to take up a leading role.
  • Languages: excellent knowledge of Dutch and English, both orally and written.
  • Generic competences: proactive, communicative, accurate, able to work independently and in team, setting up and maintaining networks, good organization and coordination skills.


  • A PhD scholarship of 48 months (supervision KU Leuven, Prof. Rik Schrijvers, co-supervision Prof. Isabel Spriet, Dr. Liesbeth Gilissen). You will be engaged to apply for competitive personal funding during the course ofyour PhD.
  • Collaboration within an ambitious multicenter project with important societal consequences.
  • Extensive experimental and clinical expertise is readily available.
  • Supervision of experienced scientists.
  • Possibility to embark on multiple tangential topics.
  • A dynamic productive environment with opportunities for further development and training, embedded in a familial context.


For more information please contact Dr. Liesbeth Gilissen, mail:; or Prof. dr. Rik Schrijvers, mail:, or Prof. dr. Isabel Spriet, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than September 22, 2023 via the
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  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: September 22, 2023
  • Tags: Microbiologie en Immunologie
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