PhD position in Molecular Microbiology, Infection mechanisms of archaeal viruses

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 15 Aug 2022


Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative institution of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 36,000 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 center of knowledge.

A PhD position starting immediately is available in the laboratory of Dr Tessa E.F. Quax in the department of Molecular Microbiology of the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.

Job description

The research group ‘Biology of Archaea and Viruses’ is studying infection mechanisms of archaeal viruses. Archaea are ubiquitous microorganisms that form a separate domain of life. Compared with bacteria and eukaryotes, relatively little is known about the cell biology and ecological roles of archaea. A prominent feature of archaea is the extraordinary diversity of their viruses. Archaeal viral particles have many unique shapes not encountered for bacterial and eukaryotic viruses. We focus on the infection strategies of archaeal viruses and study the molecular mechanisms underlying essential steps of the viral infection cycle, such as attachment, entry and release of the host cell. Since these processes take place at the cell surface, we are also actively studying the archaeal cell surface and surface appendages using the halophilic euryarchaeon Haloferax volcanii as a model. Studying the infection mechanisms of archaeal viruses can provide insight into the evolutionary history of viruses and help to understand adaptation to extreme environments. This particular project focusses on how archaeal viruses compete with each other for access to cellular resources.

We offer an excellent opportunity to engage into an exciting PhD project that combines microbiology, genetic, microscopy and biochemical tools in the context of a dynamic and enthusiastic work environment, with state-of-the-art equipment and various chances for national and international scientific collaborations.

We are looking for a PhD candidate for this project. Your responsibilities will include:

  • application of several light and electron microscopy techniques to study the infection strategies of selected viruses
  • combine several virology techniques to screen for archaeal viruses that block each other’s infection
  • apply RNAseq to infected cells in order to map how infection impacts functioning of the archaeal cell.


Your profile includes:

  • a Master’s degree with top grades in biology, chemistry or biotechnology
  • interest in the above indicated research fields
  • very strong command of English
  • previous experience with viruses of archaea/bacteria, electron/light microscopy or microbial genetics is a plus.

Conditions of employment

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

  • a salary of € 2,541 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,247 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
  • minimum of 29 holidays and additional 12 holidays in case of full-time employment.

The successful candidate 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 preferred starting date is as soon as possible.


For information you can contact:

Dr. Tessa. E.F. Quax,

(please do not use the email addresses above for applications)

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