PhD position – Yeast synthetic biology

Updated: 8 days ago
Deadline: The position may have been removed or expired!

Who we are

The lab for Systems Biology of Kevin Verstrepen is a research team at VIB & University of Leuven. Our team focuses on genomics, genetics, epigenetics, transcriptomics, and evolution, using yeast as a model. We combine wet-lab and computational research to investigate how biological systems work and evolve and exploit this technology to generate superior industrial use.  About half of the lab members are engaged in basic research, while the other half are involved in translational research, in most cases in direct collaborations with various companies.

Example publications include:

  • J. Steensels, K.J. Verstrepen . (2014). Taming wild yeast: potential of conventional and nonconventional yeasts in industrial fermentations. Annu Rev Microbiol . 68: 61-80.  (IF 12.9)
  • J. Steensels, T. Snoek, E. Meersman, M. Picca Nicolino, M., K. Voordeckers, and K.J. Verstrepen (2014).  Improving industrial yeast strains: exploiting natural and artificial diversity.  Fems Microbiol. Rev . 38: 947-995. doi: 10.1111/1574-6976.12073 (IF 13.2).
  • J. Steensels, B. Gallone and K.J. Verstrepen (2021). Interspecific hybridization as a driver of fungal evolution and adaptation.  Nature Reviews Microbiology doi.org/10.1038/s41579-021-00537-4 (IF 34.2)
  • K. Voordeckers, C. Colding, L. Grasso, B. Pardo, L. Hoes, J. Kominek, K. Gielens, K. Dekoster, J. Gordon, E. Van der Zande, P. Bircham, T. Swings, J. Michiels, P. Van Loo, S. Nuyts, P. Pasero, M. Lisby, and K.J. Verstrepen (2020). Ethanol exposure increases mutation rate through error-prone polymerases.  Nature Communications 113664 https://www.nature.com/article... (IF 11.9).
  • J. Helsen, K. Voordeckers, L. Vanderwaeren, T. Santermans, M. Tsontaki, K.J. Verstrepen * and R. Jelier*. Gene loss predictably drives evolutionary adaptation. MBE 2020. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msaa172 (IF 14.8)
  • Jariani, L. Vermeersch, B. Cerulus, G. Perez-Samper, K. Voordeckers, T. Van Brussel, B. Thienpont, D. Lambrechts and K.J. Verstrepen (2020). A new protocol for single-cell RNA-seq reveals stochastic gene expression during lag phase in budding yeast.  eLife 2020;9:e55320 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.55320 (IF 7.5).
  • B. Gallone, J. Steensels, S. Mertens, M.C. Dzialo, J.L. Gordon, R. Wauters, F.A. Theßeling, F. Bellinazzo, V. Saels, B. Herrera-Malaver, T. Prahl, C. White, M. Hutzler, F. Meußdoerffer, P. Malcorps, B. Souffriau, L. Daenen, G. Baele, S. Maere and K.J. Verstrepen (2019). Interspecific hybridisation facilitates niche adaptation in beer yeast.  Nature Ecology and Evolution. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559...  (IF 11).
  • 11 patents, >20 yeasts licensed to industry

The lab is located at Leuven University, one of the oldest and most prominent universities in Europe consistently ranked within the top 50 worldwide universities. Leuven is located 10 miles from Brussels, with frequent direct train connections to Brussels airport.


Job description

We are looking for a highly motivated and talented wet-lab PhD-student in yeast molecular biology and synthetic biology. In your role, you will work on an exciting research project aimed at using yeasts as sustainable bio-factories.  You will be directly collaborating with our team of wet-lab scientists who are using synthetic biology and high-throughput phenotyping of yeast with the goal of building better industrial yeasts for the sustainable production of various (food) products.  This includes using a lot of different wet-lab techniques, ranging from PCR, transformation, and genome editing to fermentation assays, high-throughput microscopy, and/or chromatography.


Profile

Essential

  • You have an MSc degree in molecular biology and graduated within the top 20% of your class.
  • You have hands-on experience with molecular techniques like PCR, cloning, transformation, protein analysis, chromatography… is a plus
  • You are fluent in English, for both written and oral communication

Key personal characteristics

  • You are enthused about scientific research and have a strong self-motivation
  • You have good, open communication skills and are eager to collaborate in an international team
  • You are a fast learner and have a critical mindset

We offer
  • The ability to work on scientifically exceptional and high-impact research topics
  • Full-time appointment as a Ph.D. student at VIB / KU Leuven, a highly-ranked research institute with a competitive pay scale and benefits (health insurance, sports facilities,... )
  • A stimulating and supportive international research environment (with English as the main language)
  • State-of-the-art infrastructure
  • Job is available immediately, starting date is negotiable
  • Financial support is available. However, Ph.D. candidates are expected to seek opportunities and apply to secure fellowship funding.
  • Various training opportunities within VIB and KU Leuven to broaden your expertise and skills

How to apply?

Motivated candidates are asked to apply online. Additional requirements:

  • Please upload your full  CV including a list of your scientific publications (if applicable)  and motivation letter
  • Please add the contact details of at least two references

More information: http://www.kuleuven.be/verstre...

Our institute greatly values diverse standpoints and promotes an inclusive environment in which everyone is respected. 


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