Postdoc in Novel plant(like)-derived antimicrobial modulators

Published on
July 29, 2022
Location Wageningen
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We are looking for

We are looking for a postdoc candidate for a fully funded 3-year post-doctoral research opportunity entitled “Novel plant(like)-derived antimicrobial modulators”. The project goal is to study bacterial growth modulation or inhibition by phytochemicals from novel plant(-like) sources (e.g. seaweed), in order to identify promising candidates for novel antimicrobial agents. The work is performed in collaboration with researchers at Wageningen University Laboratory of Food Chemistry and Wageningen Food Safety Research.

What will you do?
As postdoc Novel plant(like)-derived antimicrobial modulators, you will:

  • use analytical techniques (e.g. liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry) to characterize the phytochemicals of interest in complex extracts;
  • use in-vitro cell-based assays to study the antimicrobial (modulation) properties of candidate phytochemicals against target pathogens and
  • use targeted and metagenome analyses to study the effect of selected treatments on the microbiome.

As such, this project should provide a systematic chemical and antimicrobial characterization of candidate phytochemicals from novel plant(-like) sources and a deeper understanding of their effects on microbiomes.

Antimicrobial persistence and resistance is a challenge for our current and future healthcare. Irrational use of antibiotics in agriculture systems is known to contribute to the occurrence of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in our environment and food. Thus, there is a growing interest from science and industry to find potent natural antimicrobial (modulators) with novel mechanisms of action to substitute traditional ones.

Plants produce an enormous diversity of secondary metabolites with potential inhibitory or modulatory properties against pathogenic bacteria. Plant metabolites have shown promising and diverse mechanisms of action as antimicrobial agents, with the potential to be used as functional and natural ingredients in animal feed. At the same time, before applying antimicrobials with broader spectrum of activities to our farming systems, we want to ensure that the natural ingredients do not have an undesired impact on non-pathogenic bacteria present in the gut of farm animals.

We ask

  • PhD in the field of phytochemistry, food chemistry or analytical chemistry with affinity to natural product chemistry and antimicrobial research;
  • experience in molecular (micro)biology is an benefit;
  • a proven track record in academic research and problem-solving mindset;
  • ability to work in a multi-disciplinary project;
  • excellent writing and oral English communicaton skills (C1 level).

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 of course receive a good salary. Depending on your experience, we offer a competitive gross salary of between €2.960 and €4670,- for a full-time working week of 38 hours, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale 10).

Wageningen University & Research encourages internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. 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.

More information

Do you want more information?
For more information about this position, please contact dr. Carla Araya-Cloutier, email:
For more information about the procedure, please contact Mw. Gertrude Bakx, email:

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly 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 26 August 2022. Applications will be reviewed in the week after closing. We hope to schedule the first job interviews on 7 and 8 September 2022.

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.


We are

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.

Apply now