Postdoctoral position in bacterial cell biology (ref. BAP-2023-222)

Updated: 5 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 31 May 2023

12 May 2023
Job Information

KU Leuven
Research Field

Biological sciences » Biology
Researcher Profile

Recognised Researcher (R2)

Application Deadline

31 May 2023 - 18:16 (Africa/Abidjan)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

H2020 / ERC
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

The Microbial Systems Cell Biology group, lead by prof. Sander Govers, is looking for a postdoctoral researcher in light of the recently acquired ERC Starting Grant (“BacterialBlueprint”). The lab is based at the KU Leuven, where it aims to uncover how microbial cells integrate the wide range of processes required for their growth and proliferation. The group uses microbes as model systems as they often exhibit short generation times, are small, unicellular, genetically tractable and easily culturable in a laboratory environment, and can have an enormous impact on humans and their health. The group relies on a systems cell biology approach that combines genetics, molecular biology, fluorescence microscopy, quantitative image analysis, machine learning, data mining, biochemical techniques and bioinformatic analyses. More information can be found on our lab website.

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The postdoctoral position falls within the larger BacterialBlueprint framework. The general goal of this framework is to uncover the internal architecture of bacterial replication, beyond that of classical model species, and identify the molecular mechanisms that underlie it. Bacteria are small unicellular organisms that often exhibit short generation times, are genetically tractable and easily engineerable. Although bacteria represent simple forms of proliferating cells, without additional layers of internal organization (e.g., membrane-enclosed organelles) or cell cycle regulation (e.g., cyclins and cyclin-dependent kinases) seen in eukaryotic cells, they too need to spatially organize their cellular content to ensure successful and efficient replication. At the same time, bacterial diversity is immense, raising the question how different species, with various cell morphologies and eco-evolutionary backgrounds, achieve this daunting task in the absence of membrane boundaries. 


This project will take advantage of the fact that all bacterial cells, despite their diversity, must integrate and execute a set of common processes to survive and replicate (metabolize nutrients, generate cellular building blocks, maintain cell shape and size, replicate and segregate chromosomes, synthesize cell walls and membranes, and divide to give rise to daughter cells). Using a large-scale microscopy-based phenotyping approach that extracts high-content, quantitative information on all these processes, simultaneously and across species, this project aims to provide unprecedented mechanistic insight into the blueprint that underlies the intracellular organization of replication across the bacterial domain. The envisioned postdoc project will apply this methodology across different levels of bacterial diversity (both within and across species, beyond the small number of currently existing model species, including anaerobic species) to elucidate common and uncommon themes in the subcellular organization of bacteria. In a second phase, the key molecular players that underlie these general themes will be functionally characterized further. Besides this more defined project, own ideas that fall within this larger framework are also welcomed. The eventual decision on will always be made in consultation with prof. Govers.

  • A PhD degree (or one that will be obtained within the next year) in Biology, Biochemistry, Bio-Engineering, Biomedical Sciences or equivalent.
  • Experience with molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, microscopy and (bacterial) cell biology.
  • Programming skills (Python, MATLAB, R) are a plus.
  • Experience with anaerobic culturing techniques is a plus.
  • Experience with the generation of barcoded transposon libraries is a plus.
  • Good communication skills.
  • Proficient in English, both orally and in writing.
  • Social, enthusiastic and result-driven personality.

  • A full-time position in the Microbial Systems Cell Biology group, a multi-disciplinary research team at KU Leuven, Europe’s most innovative university.
  • A dynamic working environment and a stimulating scientific surrounding in a young, enthusiastic and motivated team
  • Anticipated starting date is September/October 2023, but flexible.
  • A 2-year position with an initial contract of 1 year.
  • Access to state-of-the-art microscopy infrastructure.
  • The (optional) opportunity to improve mentoring and leadership skills (including supervising Bachelor, Master and PhD students) and to write project proposals.
  • The possibility to participate in international conferences and collaborations.



For more information please contact Prof. dr. Sander Govers, tel.: +32 16 71 00 23, mail: .

You can apply for this job no later than May 31, 2023 via the online application tool

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 .

Research Field
Biological sciences » Biology
Education Level
PhD or equivalent

Additional Information
Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
KU Leuven
Postal Code
Parijsstraat 72b

Where to apply



Parijsstraat 72b Leuven

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