PhD Student in Bacterial Cytological Profiling

University of Amsterdam Faculty of Science


PhD student in exploring Bacterial Cytological Profiling to find novel antibiotic leads

Publication date 19 February 2020
Closing date 15 March 2020
Level of education Master's degree
Hours 38 hours per week
Salary indication €2,325 to €2,972 gross per month
Vacancy number 20-113

Antibiotic resistance is a major threat in human societies and will stay with us as long as we use antibiotics. The search for new antibiotic lead compounds is a cumbersome process. Natural compounds, e.g. metabolites produced by fungi, are a rich source of antibacterial activities. However, they are typically found in complex chemical mixtures, which makes it difficult to identify the most relevant activities. We have developed a novel method, called bacterial cytological profiling, that greatly facilitates this process.

We are seeking a PhD candidate to (i) develop bacterial cytological profiling for the screening of a unique fungal extract library provided by the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute located in Utrecht, and (ii) to investigate the antibacterial mode of action of novel fungal compounds.

This collaboration between the University of Amsterdam and the Westerdijk Institute is expected to identify novel antibacterial compounds of fungal origin with potentially new modes of action. Considering the lack of antibiotic discovery and development, this project will provide a significant contribution to the search for the next generation of antibiotics that are active against resistant pathogens. The project is funded by ZonMw.

What are you going to do?

You are expected:

  • to develop bacterial cytological profiling for high-throughput screening of complex natural extracts for antibiotic lead compounds;
  • to isolate novel compounds from fungal extracts;
  • to determine the antibacterial working mechanism (mode of action) of novel fungal compound using a wide variety of techniques including RNA-seq, cell biology studies, resistance development, precursor incorporation studies;
  • to supervise bachelor and master students;
  • to communicate scientific results in conferences and international peer-review journals.

What do we require?

You have:

  • a MSc in Biology or Biochemistry;
  • good experience with molecular microbiology tools;
  • good experience with growing microorganisms;
  • affinity with microbiology;
  • the ability to write en speak fluently in English.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week, starting not later than 1 August 2020 (due to funding agency constraints) for the duration of 48 months (initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory performance evaluation it can be extended) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. The PhD student is also expected to assist in teaching of undergraduates.

Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from €2,325 in the first year to €2,972 in the last year exclusive 8 % holiday allowance and 8,3 % end-of-year bonus The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Then find out more about working at the Faculty of Science.

About the Faculty of Science and SILS

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 6,500, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS) is one of the Faculty of Science’s largest institutes. Its approximately 240 scientists and staff members work in 16 research groups that perform excellent research centred on three themes:

  1. Cell & Sytems Biology;
  2. Neurosciences,
  3. Microbiology, and
  4. Green Life Sciences.

Within the Theme Microbiology the Bacterial Cell Biology & Physiology (BCBP) groups investigate key processes including cell division, cell envelope synthesis, multi-level regulation, antibiotic mode-of-action, and they work on more applied questions including the production of enzymes and beneficial compounds, novel assays for antibiotic screening and green biotechnology.


Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

  • Prof. Leendert Hamoen at the University of Amsterdam
    Dr Jérôme Collemare at the Westerdijk Institute

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your CV and cover letter by 15 March 2020. You can apply online by using the link below.

Applications should include:

  • a motivation letter and CV;
  • name and email of two academic references.


In your application, please refer to


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