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BREAKthrough: targeting the cell envelope of Gram-negative bacteria to address Antimicrobial resistance (2 PhD positions)

7 Feb 2023

Job Information

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)
Research Field
Medical sciences
Researcher Profile
Recognised Researcher (R2)
First Stage Researcher (R1)
Application Deadline
Type of Contract
Job Status
Not Applicable
Hours Per Week
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?
Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?

Offer Description

"Our" DCs will be appointed at the section Molecular Microbiology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, part of the A-LIFE department and AIMMS graduate school Or the section Medical Microbiology, Amsterdam University Medical Center, part of the Amsterdam Institute for Infection & Immunity. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is a leading, innovative and growing university that is at the heart of society and actively contributes to new developments in research and teaching. Our university has ten faculties which span a wide range of disciplines, as well as several institutes, foundations, research centres, and support services. Its campus is located in the fastest-growing economic region in the Netherlands (the Zuidas district of Amsterdam). Amsterdam UMC is the largest medical center in the Netherlands and combines complex high-quality patient care with innovative scientific research.

Your duties

  • Develop assays based on fluorescence or luminescence to identify novel compounds that interfere with the biogenesis of the cell envelope of bacteria. Libraries of thousands of compounds are available from partners in the consortium.
  • Hit compounds will be further characterized in close collaboration with consortium partners. It is anticipated that selected compounds may have direct antibiotic activity or increase the cell envelope permeability and thereby sensitize pathogens to known antibiotics.


  • Develop assays to test for early in vivo activity of the compounds generated by the consortium using zebrafish embryos. We will make use of our robot zebrafish injector to build a medium throughput testing facility.
  • Active compounds will be studied further for drug target and synergy with known antibiotics.


Specific Requirements
  • You have or will soon obtain a MSc degree in (molecular/medical) biology, biochemistry or related fields
  • You have obtained substantial experience in carrying out scientific research in the field of microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, immunology and/or infectious diseases
  • You have not already completed (or successfully defended) a PhD degree.
  • You have not resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before your starting date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status are not taken into account.
  • You are proficient in English (specific requirements may apply depending on the position).

Additional Information

  • A prestigious MSCA fellowship and a relevant network of fellow MSCA DCs;
  • An extensive network-wide training programme offering courses in the areas of science and technology, business, as well as generic, transferable skills;
  • The opportunity to work in a multidisciplinary team within a Europe-wide consortium of research institutions and SME/industrial partners, comprising experts in microbiology, pharmacology, and chemistry;
  • Intersectoral and/or international experience: Through 2-3 secondments at partner organisations, the candidate will gain valuable work experience in non-academic and international environments;
  • A competitive salary including mobility and family allowances.

With the wide range of skills and experience our DCs gain in the BREAKthrough doctoral training programme, they will considerably broaden their career perspectives and increase their employability, whether they decide to pursue a career in academia or industry.

The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,541 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,247 (PhD) per month during the last year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for 1 FTE. In case applicable, reimbursement to the level of EU allowances will be implemented.

The initial appointment will be for one year. After a positive evaluation the contract will be extended with a minimum of two year.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment,
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus,
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge,
  • contribution to commuting expenses
Additional comments

Are you interested in one of the two positions? Please apply via the application button, mentioning position DC1 or position DC2 and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 01/03/2023.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Dr J. Luirink (DC1)
Position: Head department

Name: Prof. W. Bitter (DC2)
Position: Head department

No agencies

Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)

Number of offers available
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Postal Code
De Boelelaan 1105


De Boelelaan 1105
Postal Code
1081 HV