PhD positions in Molecular Microbiology (2.0 FTE)

Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: 16 Apr 2024

PhD positions in Molecular Microbiology (2.0 FTE) (V24.0121)
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Job description

We are looking for two highly motivated and enthusiastic PhD candidates with a strong background in microbiology, bioengineering, bioinformatics or closely related fields to join the Systems Biology of Predatory Bacteria group of Dr Renske van Raaphorst.

The bacterial predator Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus has an unusual life cycle. When the fast-swimming predator encounters a prey bacterium, it attaches to the prey and enters the periplasm. There, B. bacteriovorus grows into a large filament while digesting the prey content, finally dividing into a variable number of daughter cells, leaving only prey debris behind.

B. bacteriovorus can kill a wide range of Gram-negative bacteria, including E. coli, Salmonella, Vibrio cholerae and Pseudomonas spp., making it especially interesting to find out how it recognizes, invades, kills & digests its prey. In the last years, technical advances have been made by different research groups, making it possible to genetically modify this bacterium and track its growth cycle using time-lapse microscopy. However, though several genes important for prey invasion were identified, most of the B. bacteriovorus predatory cycle remains elusive.

Our group uses systems approaches to identify genes that are essential for B. bacteriovorus predation and growth. We do this using state-of-the-art screening approaches such as transposon-sequencing (tn-seq). The resulting screening libraries will be further investigated using a combination of quantitative fluorescence microscopy and advanced image analysis. As B. bacteriovorus is an atypical bacterium, we often use creative approaches to develop new experimental setups and analysis methods.

The Systems Biology of Predatory Bacteria group is embedded in the Molecular Microbiology unit at the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, which provides an inspiring, interdisciplinary and collaborative research environment. The PhD candidates will further receive excellent training through innovative research projects, advanced courses and training opportunities, complemented by workshops on research, transferable skills and teaching. As a PhD candidate, you are committed to conduct independent and original scientific research, to report on this research in international publications and presentations, and to present the results of the research in a PhD dissertation, to be completed within 4 years.

Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 34,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. As one of the best research universities in Europe, the University of Groningen has joined forces with other top universities and networks worldwide to become a truly global centre of knowledge.

The Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute (GBB - ), one of the larger institutes of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), provides an excellent environment for top-notch research in the field of biomolecular sciences. Thirteen vibrant research units with strong roots in biochemistry, biophysical chemistry, cell biology, computational biology, genetics, microbiology, molecular biology, and systems biology are organized in two focal areas: ‘Molecular Mechanisms of Biological Processes’ and ‘Physiology and Systems Biology’.


The successful applicant has:

• a Master's degree with specialization in microbiology, bioengineering, bioinformatics or related topics (if not graduated yet, please indicate the expected graduation date)
• research experience in biochemistry, microbiology or related topics
• a creative, open mind and good English skills
• excellent interpersonal skills combined with an ability to work efficiently both independently and in a team.

Experience in genetic engineering of bacteria, microscopy or statistics is of advantage.

Conditions of employment

We offer you following the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a salary of € 2,770 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,539 gross per month in the fourth and final year
• a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
• a holiday allowance of 8% of gross annual income
• an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance.

The successful candidates will first be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected. A PhD training program is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.
The conditions of employment:

The planned starting date is August/September 2024, however, there is some flexibility in the starting date.


Please send us a complete application with the below-mentioned supporting documents as a single PDF:

• cover letter with background and motivation to apply for this position
• curriculum vitae, including Bachelor's and Master's degrees, work and research experience, and a publication list (if applicable)
• detailed (max. 500 words) description of previous research experience, such as the bachelor/master's research projects
• contact details of at least two academic references who can provide information on your suitability for the position.

You may apply for this position until 15 April 11:59pm / before 16 April 2024 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the online application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website). Please upload your single PDF file as your ‘letter of motivation’.

Incomplete application documents will not be considered.

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.

Additional information
  • University of Groningen
  • The City of Groningen


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