PhD Position in Physiology

Radboud University


Employment1.0 FTE
Gross monthly salary€ 2,541 - € 3,247
Required backgroundResearch University Degree
Organizational unitFaculty of Science
Application deadline10 September 2023
Do you want to help understand the impact of endocrine disruptors in the environment? Are you fascinated by the principles and complexities of early development? And do you have an affinity for zebrafish as experimental model? If so, then this PhD project might be for you. You will investigate the effects of endocrine-disrupting compounds on fish health and in particular how these substances affect skeletal development.

Most environmental contaminants end up in aquatic systems, where they form a major risk for aquatic organisms. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), compounds that either mimic or antagonise the action of endogenous hormones, pose an environmental threat as they interfere with animal health and physiology. Fish in particular are vulnerable due to their immersed aquatic habitats. EDCs form a pervasive, global problem and their established health risks include reproductive, metabolic and neurological disorders, resulting in a general decrease in fitness. Moreover, EDCs interfere with the functioning of bone cells, leading to abnormalities in skeletal development. Particularly during critical periods of development, EDC exposure has been linked to altered bone density, reduced bone growth and abnormal bone morphology. The potential long-term effects of EDC exposure on fish bone health are concerning, as skeletal malformations persist into adulthood and will affect growth, swimming performance, predator avoidance, and food intake - and thus compromise fitness and survival and, ultimately, population stability. Despite our knowledge of the crucial role that hormones play in skeletal development and maintenance, the impact of, for example, early life exposure to EDCs on adult bone health is not well understood. Moreover, EDCs can act transgenerationally in offspring that were not exposed to the EDCs their parents were exposed to.

This project will focus on the effects of EDCs on fish health. You will design and perform experimental research to assess the specific effects of different types of endocrine-disrupting compounds on skeletal development in fish. The results of your experiments will contribute to unravelling the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie the effects of endocrine-disrupting compounds on skeletal development in fish. Using the results obtained, you will make an assessment of the extent to which, under realistic environmental EDC concentrations, exposure in early life or later in life will impact the sustainability of real fish populations. If circumstances permit, you may be invited to work as a teaching assistant in one of the courses coordinated by our group. Your teaching load may be up to 10% of your working time.


  • You are an enthusiastic and highly motivated candidate with a demonstrable strong interest in organismal physiology, developmental biology and/or comparative endocrinology.
  • You are curious, proactive and detail-oriented, and have the ability to take ownership of the project.
  • You should hold, or be about to complete, an MSc degree (or equivalent) in biology, medical biology, molecular life sciences, or a related field.
  • You hold a FELASA B certificate (laboratory animal science) or will obtain such a certificate within the first year of the project.
  • You have affinity with designing and conducting experimental, empirical research.
  • Experience with molecular, analytical and/or modern imaging techniques is a plus.

We are

The Animal Physiology group is embedded in the Radboud Institute for Biological and Environmental Sciences (RIBES). We use multidisciplinary approaches to understand mechanisms that orchestrate physiological responses and adaptations of fish to ecological stressors. The Radboud Zebrafish Facilitytakes a central position in our research, which is characterised by a transparent and open research environment in which all aspects needed for frontline zebrafish research are within reach. You will collaborate with colleagues from departments within the institute and beyond, both nationally and internationally.

Radboud University

We are keen to meet critical thinkers who want to look closer at what really matters. People who, from their expertise, wish to contribute to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This ambition unites more than 24,000 students and 5,600 employees at Radboud University and requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!

We offer

  • It concerns an employment for 1.0 FTE.
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,541 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,247 in the fourth year (scale P). 
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract).
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.

Additional employment conditions

Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.

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Would you like more information?

For questions about the position, please contact Juriaan Metz, Assistant Professor at +31 24 365 23 10 or j.metz [at]

Practical information and applying

You can apply until 10 September 2023, exclusively using the button below. Kindly address your application to Juriaan Metz. Please fill in the application form and attach the following documents:
  • A letter of motivation.
  • CV including contact details of two academic references.
  • An electronic copy of your MSc degree certificate. If you have not yet completed your degree, please attach a recommendation letter from your current advisor.
The first round of interviews will take place on Thursday 21 September. You would preferably begin employment as soon  as possible.

We can imagine you're curious about our application procedure. It offers a rough outline of what you can expect during the application process, how we handle your personal data and how we deal with internal and external candidates.
Application deadline 10 September 2023

We would like to recruit our new colleague ourselves. Acquisition in response to this vacancy will not be appreciated.

Dr Metz, J.R. (Juriaan)

Assistant Professor
j.metz [at] +31 24 365 23 10

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