2 Postdoc positions in microbial genomics/evolution

Gepubliceerd op
15 juli 2019
Locatie Wageningen
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We are looking for

The research group of Prof. Dr. Thijs J. G. Ettema is looking for highly motivated and curiosity-driven candidates to fill in 2 PhD and 2 postdoctoral researcher positions within the framework of the ERC project “PRO2EUK”. The aim is to gain a more profound insight into the evolutionary transition of prokaryotic to eukaryotic life using various (meta)genomics, phylogenomics and (co-)cultivation approaches. The project builds on the recently discovered Asgard archaea, a deeply-branching archaeal superphylum that currently represents the closest prokaryotic relative of eukaryotes in the Tree of Life (e.g. see Spang et al, Nature 521, 173-178 (2015) and Zaremba–Niedzwiedzka et al. Nature 541, 353-357 (2017)). The ERC project will have a total duration of 5 years, during which various aspects of Asgard archaeal diversity, physiology, cell biology and evolution will be investigated.

We are looking for the following profiles:

• Profile 1 (“Phylogenomics”): A candidate with a strong level of expertise large-scale analyses of biological (microbial) sequence data (bioinformatics) and phylogenetics (genome-scale phylogenetic analyses, e.g. using maximum-likelihood and Bayesian methodology).
• Profile 2 (“Metagenomics”): A candidate with a strong background in bioinformatics and metagenomics, including reconstruction of microbial genomes from large metagenomics datasets. Preferentially also experienced in using long-read sequencing technologies (PacBio, Nanopore, 10XGenomics).
• Profile 3 (“Microbial genomics”): A candidate experienced in analyses of large biological datsets, such as (meta)genome, (meta)transcriptome, and (meta)proteome data. Substantial knowledge of microbial metabolism and cell biology is required, as is experience with programming in Python, Perl and/or R.
• Profile 4 (“Microbial physiology”): A candidate with advanced knowledge of anaerobic microbial metabolism and demonstrated experience with (anaerobic) microbial cultivation/enrichment methods. Experience with cell labelling and visualisation techniques (e.g. FISH) and/or with cell sorting approaches (e.g. FACS) is regarded beneficial.

Note that all profiles mentioned above are suitable for both PhD students or postdoctoral researchers. State clearly in your application if you are applying for a PhD student or Postdoc position.

We ask

• For the PhD position a Master degree in Biology, Microbiology, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Molecular Life Sciences or a related field.
• For the postdoc position a PhD degree in Biology, Microbiology, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Molecular Life Sciences or a related field.

For both:
• You are an ambitious and enthusiastic scientist with the ability to work together in multidisciplinary team in an international environment and to work independently.
• You are a person with a pro–active attitude.
• Good communication and presentation skills are required.
• Fluency in English (both spoken and written) is a requirement. For international applicants (non-native English speakers) it is necessary to have: TOEFL internet-based 90 with a minimum of 23 for speaking, or IELTS (academic version) 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 for speaking.

We offer

PhD students: We offer you a temporary position for a period of 1.5 years with extension of 2.5 years after successful evaluation. Gross salary per month € 2325,-. in the first year rising up to € 2972,-. per month in the fourth year.

Postdoctoral researchers: We offer a challenging position with, depending on your experience, a competitive salary from a minimum of € 2972,-. to a maximum of € 4274,-. for a full working week of 38 hours in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement Dutch Universities (scale 10).

You are expected to dedicate some of your time to teaching by supervision of BSc and MSc students (and PhD students for postdoctoral researchers), and by participation in teaching activities.

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.

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.
We offer a versatile job in an international environment with varied activities in a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

More information

For more information about this position, please contact Prof. Dr. Thijs J. G. Ettema, email:
For more information about the contractual aspects, please contact Mrs. J. van Meurs, HR advisor, telephone number +31 317480101

You can apply online at

This vacancy is open until suitable candidates have been found for each position, although no later than October 1st 2019. Please note that applications sent by email will not be considered.

Please submit:

  • Motivation letter (1 page max), outlining your motivation and suitability for the position (PhD student or Postdoc) and profile (see above) of your choice, as well as your personal qualities and experience;
  • Curriculum vitae (2 pages max), including an abstract of master thesis (250 words max) and contact details of two or more references;
  • A copy of your degree certificates.

We are

The Microbial Evolution group, headed by Prof. Dr. Thijs J. G. Ettema, was recently established within the Laboratory of Microbiology at Wageningen University (see for details).
The Laboratory of Microbiology is engaged in research and education in the diversity, evolution, ecology, cell biology and physiology of microorganisms. Moreover, it contributes to the exploitation of the generated knowledge in the application areas of Health & Food, Bioproducts & Energy and Environment & Sustainability. The Microbial Evolution group studies the diversity, physiology and evolution of prokaryotes by using state-of-the-art (meta)genomics and cultivation approaches.

The Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group is part of Wageningen University & Research, an organisation that brings together fundamental and applied scientific research. We work on creating ‘healthy food in a biobased society’ with private sector companies, research institutes and government agencies in the Netherlands and abroad. Our innovations play a crucial role in solving the major issues which affect society today. Entrepreneurship and professionalism are key in all that we do. In short, we are a major international employer offering considerable potential for your career.

Wageningen University & Research
Delivering a substantial contribution to the quality of life. That's our focus – each and every day. Within our domain of good and safe food & food production, food security and a healthy living environment, we search for answers to issues affecting society – such as sustainable food production, climate change and alternative energy. Of course, we don’t do this alone. Every day, 5000 people work on ‘the quality of life’, turning ideas into reality, on a global scale.

Could you be one of these people? We give you the space you need.

For further information about working at Wageningen University & Research, take a look at:

Acquisition regarding this vacancy is not appreciated.

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