PhD position: Plasma proteins to enhance gut health in dogs

Updated: about 1 month ago

We are looking for

Are you that researcher who likes to combine in vitro cellular and molecular techniques to understand the complex interplay between nutrition and immunology? Do you have the organisation and communication skills to effectively perform a clinical study with privately-owned dogs? Do you thrive in a multidisciplinary team and have an interest in bringing fundamental science to practice? Then we are looking for you!

As a PhD candidate with affinity for immunology and animal nutrition, you will study plasma protein to improve the intestinal health of dogs.

To achieve this aim, you will
1) apply in vitro immunological assays to determine plasma protein functionality on a molecular and functional basis;
2) perform targeted anti-microbial analyses;
3) study plasma protein functionality when incorporated in a complex food matrix; and
4) initiate and coordinate a food intervention study in dogs.

For this, you should have laboratory skills in immunology, preferably with experience in culturing (primary) immune cells and bacteria, as well as with molecular analyses such as ELISA and PCR. Moreover, you should be an effective communicator with organisation skills, as you will interact with various stakeholders. Beyond practical skills and experience, you should also have a clear affinity with animal welfare in general, and dog nutrition and health in particular.

The research is embedded within the chair groups of Cell Biology and Immunology and Animal Nutrition and in collaboration with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Utrecht University. The research is funded by an industrial partner.


We ask
  • a successfully completed MSc degree in biology, animal science, molecular life sciences, immunology or a relevant related field;
  • ability to perform independent laboratory work and experience in working with cell and/or microbiota cultures and molecular biology techniques (e.g. cytotoxicity assays, qPCR, flow cytometry);
  • experience with confocal microscopy, and -omics techniques will be considered as a pre;
  • highly curious with capability to think conceptually and learn rapidly and sustainably including knowledge from different fields and new research techniques.
  • eager to learn and gain new experiences, as well as be excited to work together with various stakeholders in the project including experts, commissioner, technicians, veterinarians, participants, students;
  • goal-oriented and strong collaborative skills with excellent communication skills in English (at C1 level ) and, preferably, in Dutch, both oral and in writing. More information about English language proficiency can be found here .

We offer

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment . A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.541,- per month rising to € 3.247,- in the fourth year in according to the

Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU)

(scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “ Best University ” in the Netherlands for the 17th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief , known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusivity page . A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment .


More information

For more information about this position, please contact dr. Coen Govers (coen.govers@wur.nl ) or dr. Guido Bosch (guido.bosch@wur.nl).
For more information about the procedure, please contact Ine van ‘t Land, recruiter, ine.vantland@wur.nl .

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly by uploading your 1-page CV and 1-page motivation letter, using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.
This vacancy will be listed up to and including 4 September 2022. We hope to schedule the first job interviews on 19 September 2022. The preferred starting date for this position is 1 November 2022.


We are

Wageningen University & Research
The mission of Wageningen University and Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 7.200 employees and 13.200 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.


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