PhD Opening: Biofouling project Wetsus

Characterization and detachment of the extracellular polymer matrix of biofilms in membrane filtration systems

Biofilms are a large problem in the water treatment industry, leading e.g. to an increase in energy consumption and a decrease in filtration membrane lifetimes. In biofilms bacteria are embedded in an extracellular polymer (EPS) matrix that binds the cells together and to the surface on which the biofilm is growing. This project focusses on the physical-chemical and mechanical characteristics of the EPS matrix. Aim is to quantify the effect of growth conditions and stress, such as shear and nutrient limitation and to arrive at strategies to specifically dissolve or detach EPS and thus clean filtration membranes.


This project is part of an integrated series of projects within the Biofouling Theme of Wetsus, Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Water Technology. The PhD will be supervised by Dr. Mieke Kleijn (Wageningen University) and Prof. Mark van Loosdrecht (Delft University of Technology).

Location of the PhD will be in Leeuwarden.


We are looking for

We are looking for an outstanding experimentalist with a solid background in physical chemistry or material science, who is able to work together with researchers in microbiology and water technology. Knowledge and experience on gel networks and rheology is an advantage.



For this position we request a Master degree in physical chemistry, environmental (bio)technology or a related field. A good command of the English language is required.


Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Mieke Kleijn,, telephone +31 317 482145 or Prof. Mark van Loosdrecht,


To apply, please send your resume, motivation letter (max. 1 page) and contact information of two (or more) references.