PhD-position - Transcriptomics of Insect embryogenesis

Published on
December 18, 2019
Location Wageningen
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We are looking for

We are looking for a highly motivated insect biologist who can work in a collaborative and multidisciplinary team.

We invite applications from highly motivated candidates with relevant research experience and a passion for studying insect development. Insects display an amazing diversity in Bauplan modifications, species and taxa richness. Remarkably, the insect diversity is already reflected in their embryogenesis in terms of morphological and molecular variation. To date, most molecular information about insect embryogenesis has come from studies of model-organisms like Drosophila melanogaster. However, understanding the extent of gene expression variation during embryogenesis from diverse insect lineages could elucidate broad developmental constraints and novelty during insect evolution.
Towards this end, the PhD student will combine in vivo documentation of embryogenesis of several phylogenetically diverse insect species and transcriptional analysis from next-generation sequencing to identify temporal gene expression dynamics in a comparative manner.

The Graduate School Experimental Plant Sciences and The Biosystematics Group
The PhD project will be imbedded within The Graduate School Experimental Plant Sciences (EPS) under the supervision of Dr. Sabrina Simon in the Biosystematics Group, Wageningen University & Research. You will be part of the Biosystematics group, with about 25 employees, including technicians, PhD students, post-docs, junior and senior scientists working on fundamental questions about biological diversity.
The inter-university Graduate School EPS is a collaborative research and teaching institution of Wageningen University (WU), Radboud University (RU), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU), Leiden University (LU), University of Amsterdam (UvA), Utrecht University (UU) and University of Groningen (RUG). The mission of EPS is to organize the training of PhD students and postdocs to become self-reliant researchers.
The Biosystematics Group is part of the Plant Science Group and works closely together with other groups within Wageningen University. The group research themes are: (1) origin and maintenance of plant and insect biodiversity, (2) speciation, domestication and plant-animal interactions, and (3) applying phylogenetic patterns to test hypotheses on underlying evolutionary processes.

We ask

The successful candidate;

  • will have an MSc degree in Biology. Students with an interest in insect development, transcriptomics, gene expression analyses, and evolutionary biology, are encouraged to apply;
  • should know or be willing to learn protocols for setting up insect cultures, microscopy and dissection protocols, next-gen sequencing methods and analyses, and computer programming languages;
  • has skills in molecular biological techniques and a proven ability to organize laboratory experiments and bioinformatic pipelines;
  • will be proficient in the English language, oral and written. This position requires an excellent English language proficiency (a mininum of CEFR C1 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page.
Within the Biosystematics group, PhD students have the opportunity to assist in teaching of undergraduates and/or two courses Biodiversity of the Netherlands and Webs of Terrestrial Diversity.

Applications should include: a cover letter including a statement about your motivation to apply and your requirements for the position, curriculum vitae, copies of your University degree and two references.

We offer

We offer you a challenging job for a period of 4 years (1 year after a positive evaluation extension for another 3 years) at an international leading organization. The position is available within Wageningen University & Research at the Biosystematics group. The organization has good and flexible employment conditions, including good education and training facilities for PhD students. Gross salary per month € 2.325,- in the first year rising to € 2.972,- per month in the fourth year, for a fulltime appointment. The candidate will be based at the Biosystematics group.

In addition, we offer:

  • 8% holiday allowance;
  • a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • flexible working hours and holidays can possibly be determined in consultation so that an optimal balance between work and private life is possible;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes;
  • a flexible working time: the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra and thereby to build up extra leave;
  • a choice model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan;
  • a lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place on the Wageningen Campus. A place where education, research and business are represented;
  • use the sports facilities on campus;
  • a versatile job in an international environment with varied activities in a pleasant and open working atmosphere.
Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for own initiative in a learning environment.

More information

For more information about this position, please contact: Dr. Sabrina Simon, +31(0)317 483175, (

You can apply up and until January 31, 2020.
For this position you can only apply on line:

We are

The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Within Wageningen University & Research, nine specialised research institutes from the Wageningen Research Foundation and Wageningen University have joined forces to help answer the most important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With approximately 30 locations, 6,000 employees, and 12,000 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain worldwide. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of the unique approach of Wageningen.

For further information about working at Wageningen University & Research, take a look at the special career site.

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