PhD positions in Molecular Microbiology (2.0 FTE)

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  • Groningen
  • University of Groningen
Posted on

We are looking for two highly motivated and enthusiastic PhD candidates with a strong background in microbiology, bioengineering, bioinformatics or closely related fields to join the Systems Biology of Predatory Bacteria group of Dr Renske van Raaphorst.

The bacterial predator Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus has an unusual life cycle. When the fast-swimming predator encounters a prey bacterium, it attaches to the prey and enters the periplasm. There, B. bacteriovorus grows into a large filament while digesting the prey content, finally dividing into a variable number of daughter cells, leaving only prey debris behind.

B. bacteriovorus can kill a wide range of Gram-negative bacteria, including E. coli, Salmonella, Vibrio cholerae and Pseudomonas spp., making it especially interesting to find out how it recognizes, invades, kills & digests its prey. In the last years, technical advances have been made by different research groups, making it possible to genetically modify this bacterium and track its growth cycle using time-lapse microscopy. However, though several genes important for prey invasion were identified, most of the B. bacteriovorus predatory cycle remains elusive.

Our group uses systems approaches to identify genes that are essential for B. bacteriovorus predation and growth. We do this using state-of-the-art screening approaches such as transposon-sequencing (tn-seq). The resulting screening libraries will be further investigated using a combination of quantitative fluorescence microscopy and advanced image analysis. As B. bacteriovorus is an atypical bacterium, we often use creative approaches to develop new experimental setups and analysis methods.

The Systems Biology of Predatory Bacteria group is embedded in the Molecular Microbiology unit at the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, which provides an inspiring, interdisciplinary and collaborative research environment. The PhD candidates will further receive excellent training through innovative research projects, advanced courses and training opportunities, complemented by workshops on research, transferable skills and teaching. As a PhD candidate, you are committed to conduct independent and original scientific research, to report on this research in international publications and presentations, and to present the results of the research in a PhD dissertation, to be completed within 4 years.

Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 34,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. As one of the best research universities in Europe, the University of Groningen has joined forces with other top universities and networks worldwide to become a truly global centre of knowledge.

The Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute (GBB -, one of the larger institutes of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), provides an excellent environment for top-notch research in the field of biomolecular sciences. Thirteen vibrant research units with strong roots in biochemistry, biophysical chemistry, cell biology, computational biology, genetics, microbiology, molecular biology, and systems biology are organized in two focal areas: ‘Molecular Mechanisms of Biological Processes’ and ‘Physiology and Systems Biology’.

Ole Gmelin

"Speaking Dutch in the Netherlands will always open certain doors for you when it comes to finding a job. But, it isn’t always a must."

Will you become our new PhD positions in Molecular Microbiology (2.0 FTE)? Apply at University of Groningen