Ph.D. Position: Validating Personalized Digital Biomarkers for Metabolic Health with Clinical Labs

Engineering digital biomarkers of interstitial glucose from non-invasive smartwatches (npj Digital Medicine, 2021); A digital biomarker of diabetes from smartphone-based vascular signals (Nature Medicine 2020); Wearable sensors enable personalized predictions of clinical laboratory measurements (Nature Medicine 2021).

Wearables and biosensors are rapidly transforming how we monitor and manage metabolic health, moving beyond finger pricking and blood picks. Data from wearables and smartphones hold massive potential to provide personalized insights into blood glucose levels and to inform decisions about diet and exercise in everyday life and at scale. What are the latest clinical advances in the underlying mechanisms of metabolic health? And how can we best integrate insights from clinical mechanisms and wearable technologies to develop novel digital biomarkers in metabolic health?

The CSS Health Lab is a research laboratory at the Centre for Digital Health Interventions, a joint initiative of ETH Zurich and the University of St. Gallen (HSG), dedicated to various aspects of digital health and supported by CSS, one of the largest Swiss health insurance companies. Given the increasing health and economic burden of non-communicable diseases, the lab aims to make prevention measurable, actionable, and accountable and to make preventative care successful.

To strengthen the CSS Health Lab, we offer the following position at HSG’s School of Medicine in St. Gallen under the supervision of Mia Jovanova, PhD, upcoming Scientific Director of the CSS Health Lab and Postdoctoral Research in Digital Biomarkers for Healthy Longevity at the School of Medicine, University of St. Gallen, with Prof. Dr. Tobias Kowatsch and Prof. Dr. Elgar Fleisch being co-supervisors: Research Assistant to obtain a Ph.D. in Management, offered by the School of Management at HSG or a Ph.D. in Clinical Science offered by the Medical Faculty of the University of Zurich.

You must be eligible for a Ph.D. at the University of St. Gallen (School of Management) or the University of Zurich (Medical Faculty). You will work on projects to develop novel digital biomarkers for metabolic health using various data from wearables (e.g., V02max, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, respiratory rate, heart rate variability), wet blood measurements, and data from CGM (continuous glucose monitoring) devices. As part of our team, you take direct project responsibility. You will design, lead, and evaluate clinical trials to test novel digital biomarkers in the lab and the field.

You must have a strong clinical foundation in the mechanisms of action underlying metabolic health and strong experience with clinical trials, good clinical practice, and biostatistics. You will work in a highly interdisciplinary team at the intersection of computer science, behavioral medicine, clinical psychology, and business innovation.

Employment conditions, compensation, and benefits are attractive and based on the guidelines of HSG. The average duration for obtaining a Ph.D. is 3.5 years.

You should meet the following requirements:

  1. A master’s degree in medicine, bioinformatics, or health sciences with a focus on metabolic health or (digital) biomarkers in metabolic health, with a GPA (Grade Point Average) of at least 5.0 (GPA of 2.0 and better in Germany and Austria).
  2. Strong experience with clinical trials, (micro) randomized experiments, good clinical practice, and a strong theoretical and clinical background in metabolic health.
  1. Strong foundation in biostatistics, Python, R, or similar software/languages.
  2. Prior experience and interest in working with wearable and biosensor data are advantageous.
  1. Prior experience (or interest) in applied research projects, start-ups, or venture capital and work experience in the digital health industry is advantageous.
  2. Self-confident appearance and high conceptual and communication skills, especially regarding presenting research results to a broad and interdisciplinary audience.
  3. Profound knowledge (written/oral) in German and English.

If you are fascinated by the described task and would like to be part of a highly motivated, young team, we would be pleased to receive your electronic application via the following link: HSG: Ph.D. Position: Validating Personalized Digital Biomarkers for Metabolic Health with Clinical Labs (m/w/d) (

For all inquiries, please email Prof. Dr. Tobias Kowatsch.

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