Two PhD candidate positions in Virology: ERC Advanced project on unraveling the enterovirus life cycle (1.0 FTE)

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 17 Oct 2022

Two PhD candidate positions in Virology: ERC Advanced project on unraveling the enterovirus life cycle (1.0 FTE)
Two PhD candidate positions in Virology: ERC Advanced project on unraveling the enterovirus life cycle (1.0 FTE)
Published Deadline Location
today 17 Oct Utrecht

We are building a team for the ERC Advanced project of Prof. dr. Frank van Kuppeveld to elucidate the enteroviral life cycle.
Job description

Would you like to contribute to our understanding of the enteroviral life cycle? Are you looking for a PhD candidate position? We have two openings at the Virology Section of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Utrecht University where we are building a team of PhD candidates and Postdoctoral researchers for the ERC Advanced project of Prof. dr. Frank van Kuppeveld.

Enteroviruses are highly prevalent human and animal pathogens that cause a broad variety of diseases. Well-known human pathogens are poliovirus, coxsackievirus, enterovirus-A71, enterovirus-D68, and rhinovirus. Although valuable insights have already been obtained in the enteroviral life cycle, many important questions cannot be answered due to shortcomings of current methodologies. The laboratory of Prof. dr. Frank van Kuppeveld has contributed many important molecular insights into the enteroviral life cycle. Recently, a novel high-resolution imaging technology, VIRIM, was developed which allowed us for the first time to visualize translation of single (entero)viral RNAs in living cells (Boersma et al, 2020, Cell).

The overarching goal of this ERC project is to visualize and dissect the spatial and temporal regulation of the different phases of the enterovirus life cycle and to elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms. To further our understanding, the newly established ERC Advanced team will develop and use novel methodologies to study this process. These can be divided in two profiles for which we are recruiting and cross-interest is endorsed:

  • this ERC Advanced project includes the latest fluorescent microscopy techniques, making use of SunTag, RNA-aptamers, and split fluorescent proteins, to allow sensitive and real-time observation of the dynamics and localisation of viral RNA, viral proteins, and host factors at the single-cell level. These will be used to elucidate the mechanisms of viral RNA replication, virus assembly, and pre-lytic virus release in living cells;
  • this ERC Advanced project will use advanced cryo-EM and in situ cryo-ET technologies together with proteomics and lipidomics analysis in order to study the structure and composition of the viral replication organelles and the associated replication complexes.
  • In this role you:

    • design and conduct the experimental work for this research project;
    • work together with your fellow PhD researcher and/or postdoctoral researchers and technicians to obtain results;
    • write high quality research publications;
    • supervise research projects of MSc and BSc.

    Your research will be embedded in the Department of Biomolecular Health Sciences within the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. You will be supervised and coached in your development by Prof. dr. Frank van Kuppeveld, whom is also your promotor. For more information on our recently developed Single-molecule imaging assay to study translation and replication of +RNA viruses . 

    • 36—40 hours per week
    • €2541—€3247 per month
    • Utrecht View on Google Maps

    Utrecht University


    To be successful in this role you:

    • have received a MSc degree in virology, molecular biology, or biochemistry;
    • have hands-on and proven interest and experience in molecular biology, biochemistry, microscopy, and/or virology;
    • have affinity and experience with at least one of the technical profiles in the job description;
    • are a team player who is enthusiastic to collaborate with other team members and research groups;
    • communicate clearly and effectively and have proven English skills in presenting and writing.

    In your motivation letter please explicitly indicate what attracts you in this position and your match with the desired experience and profiles we are looking for. Applications without this personal information will not be taken into account.

    Conditions of employment
    You will join our large team of about 40 researchers that focuses on the molecular aspects of infection of corona-, influenza- and picornaviruses. We offer a challenging position in a dynamic and professional environment with plenty of room for initiative and entrepreneurship. This position offers a lot of opportunities to develop yourself and your talents. You will join the Graduate School of Life Sciences theme Infection & Immunity.
    You will be offered a full-time position for an initial period of 1 year (1.0 FTE), with the possibility of extension for three more years. The gross salary starts at €2,541 per month in the first year and increases to €3,247 per month (scale P of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (CAO). Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8 % and a year-end bonus of 8.3 % per year. 

    In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions , including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions  (multiple choice model). For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University .


    A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University , the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.
    The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is the only veterinary school in the Netherlands. It employs approximately 900 staff and is one of Europe’s leaders in veterinary education, research and patient-care and is accredited by the European, American and Canadian Veterinary Medical Associations.

    The Virology Section of the Department of Biomolecular Health Sciences of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine studies the interaction between viruses and their hosts at the molecular/cell biological level as well as at the level of the organism. Ultimately, we strive to translate obtained knowledge into the development of novel vaccines, antiviral therapies, and diagnostic tools.

    Additional information

    Would you like to know more about this vacancy? Please feel free to contact: Prof. dr. Frank van Kuppeveld , via

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    Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation, via the ‘apply now’ button.
    Job interviews will be held soon. Start of the appointment is flexible and we aim for 1 researcher to start April 1st 2023 and 1 researcher to join later.

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