PhD student position in Fungal Cell and Network Biology

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: ;

Are you looking for a PhD position at the intersection between mycology, fluorescence microscopy and technology development? Do you enjoy developing new methods and to perform quantitative biology and data analysis? The

Kokkoris group

(A-Life, VU Amsterdam) in Amsterdam, NL is accepting applications for a 4 years fully-funded PhD position. Applicants


have a basic understanding of fungal biology and


be experienced with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal cultivation, confocal microscopy, data analysis and programming (e.g., R, Python or/and MATLAB). The PhD position will ideally start March 2023.  Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) form one of the most widespread terrestrial symbiosis on earth with the roots of host plants, known broadly as the mycorrhizal symbiosis. AMF can connect with one another and with multiple plants, forming large underground common mycorrhizal networks where carbon and nutrients are exchanged. In contrast to most organisms where a single cell carries a single nucleus, a single AMF cell holds thousands of nuclei. This mysterious multinucleate biology has generated open questions in evolutionary biology. Recent discoveries demonstrate the existence of a carefully regulated genetic system in AMF, but we still do not know how these numerous nuclei can be organized with such precision in these large interconnected cells and how interconnected strains interact with one another at the nuclear level. By intergrading advanced microscopy techniques, high throughput imaging and video and molecular tagging we will achieve a quantitative understanding of these nuclear interactions across scales.  

Your duties

  • method development for immunofluorescence
  • modelling of spatial organization of cytoskeletal features in fungal cells
  • modelling of the spatial organization and cytoplasmic exchange of interconnected strains
  • method development for AMF genetic transformation
  • communicate your research in local and international conferences
  • write a dissertation leading to a PhD degree towards the end of the 4-year project

  • you have MSc or equivalent degree in Microbiology, Molecular biology or a related field, with a strong interest in microscopy and data analysis
  • imaging analysis and programming software knowledge such as R studio/Python/MATLAB
  • excellent ability to communicate in both written and spoken English
  • experience with in-vitro culturing of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal fungi is necessary
  • experience with advanced microscopy techniques (e.g., use of confocal microscopy) and/or with genetic transformation techniques is necessary

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,541 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,247 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a total duration of 4 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge
  • contribution to commuting expenses

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 30,000 students. We employ over 5,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to more than 11,000 students.

About the institute
The sub-department A-LIFE / Ecology and Evolution ( ) offers a stimulating international research environment with world-class academic reputation, and excellent state-of-the-art facilities. Research in the department covers a wide range of fundamental and applied research topics, including stress ecology, species interactions, evolutionary adaptation, symbiotic interactions, climate change and ecosystem functioning. Our strength lies in the ability to integrate studies of adaptive changes across the entire range of biological organizational levels. The sub- department has a strong commitment to equity and diversity.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until


. The job interviews are planned for the second week of February. When possible please take them into account when applying for the position.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Dr. V. Kokkoris
Position: Assistant Professor

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