City of Delft
City of Delft

Jobs

Postdoc and two PhD positions available


2 PhD positions - Role of defense and counter-defense systems in phage infection and bacterial response

Bacterial

2x PhD position (4 years)

 

The laboratories of Dr. Pieter-Jan Haas (Utrecht University) and Stan Brouns (Delft University of Technology) are looking for two ambitious PhD students to join a nationally funded (ZonMW) research project role of defense and counter-defense systems in phage infection and bacterial response

 

DESCRIPTION

Bacterial antimicrobial resistance is an emerging health threat severely limiting treatment options for bacterial infections. A promising alternative antibacterial strategy is the use of bacteriophages. Bacteriophages are viruses that infect and efficiently kill bacteria. Bacteria have evolved defense mechanisms to protect them from phage infection and bacteriophages, in their turn, have acquired counter defense systems. Last couple of years many new defense and counter-defense systems were identified. We recently described that clinical strains of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common multi resistant pathogen, accumulate phage defense systems to make them resistant for many different phage families. The relevance of these defense and counter-defense systems in the context of phage therapy is currently unknown. One PhD project (Delft) will study how different defense systems are regulated, their interaction with counter-defense systems, and how selected phage defense systems work at the molecular level. 

In the second PhD project (Utrecht) we will study the overall bacterial response to defense system activation. Activation of defense systems may induce a general stress response that affects other bacterial systems like virulence, antibiotic susceptibility or biofilm formation.

Understanding the interaction between phages and bacteria and the role of defense and counter-defense systems is essential in order to develop effective phage therapy.

 

JOINT PROJECT

The project is a collaboration between TU-Delft (Brouns, Department of Bionanoscience) and UMC-Utrecht (Haas, Medical Microbiology). The research team of Pieter-Jan Haas is embedded in the department of microbiology within the University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU). Scientific focus is on bacteriophages and their use in anti-infective therapies. The team is well embedded in the research groups at the department, which provides a stimulating and highly collaborative research environment that studies microbiology with an emphasis host-pathogen interaction and translation to clinical practice. The research team of Stan Brouns focuses on discovering and understanding the mechanisms of phage defense and evasion.

 

SKILLS

The ideal candidate has excellent skills in the area of molecular biology and (medical) microbiology, including bacterial and/or virus handling. The candidate has shown to be capable of critical scientific thinking, having analytical skills, and is able to come up with research questions and hypotheses. The candidate self-motivated, adaptable, dedicated, positive attitude and has a genuine interest in science and research

 

Required qualifications

- Strong ability to work independently and with team members

- Excellent communication skills in English (verbal and written)

- Excellent microbiological handling skills

 

Optional qualifications

- Bioinformatic and computational skills

 

Please contact Stan Brouns and/or Pieter-Jan Haas (with CV, motivation letter and references.

 

Position open from May 15, 2024

Apply before: June 15, 2024

Expected starting date: Q3 or Q4 2024

 

Deadline: open until a suitable candidate has been found (starting May 15, 2024). Applications will be collected and reviewed at the beginning of June.

 


Postdoc UMC Utrecht - bacterial defense systems in phage therapy

The department of medical microbiology is looking for a postdoc to study the molecular mechanisms of bacterial phage defense systems and their relevance in the context of phage therapy. This position is in a collaboration with a postdoctoral position at TU Delft (Brouns).

 

JOB DESCRIPTION

Phage therapy is a promising alternative for antibiotics in treating multi-resistant bacterial infections. Bacteria evolved defense systems to overcome bacteriophage killing. This limits phage host range and complicates routine therapeutic application of bacteriophages. In turn, bacteriophages have evolved counter defense systems to overcome bacterial defenses and can adapt to prevent defense recognition. In this project we aim to identify the most relevant defense and counter defense mechanisms in clinical strains and phages of the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We will use this knowledge to adapt phages in order to broaden their host range.

 

The project is a collaboration between UMC-Utrecht and TU-Delft (Department of Bionanoscience). Focus of TU-Delft will be on (counter) defense mechanisms while UMC-Utrecht will focus on interaction with P. aeruginosa and adaptations needed to overcome phage defense systems. We aim at translating the results of this project to the clinical practice.

 

As a key member of the project team, which includes a dedicated technician and external collaborators you will be responsible for the progression of the project at the UMC-Utrecht. You will perform molecular and cellular microbiology techniques aimed at adapting bacterial strains and bacteriophages. You will be involved in the supervision of master or PhD students, in teaching and in the preparation of publications. The position is for the duration of 2 years.

 

REQUIREMENTS

The successful candidate should hold a PhD and strong knowledge in one or more of the following: molecular microbiology, bacteriology, microbial physiology, phage biology or biochemistry. Experience with bacteriophages is not a specific prerequisite. Candidate should have a track record of creativity in developing experimental strategies. Must be self-motivated and capable to work in autonomy, but also able to collaborate with other scientists in our team. Evidence of scientific accomplishment via peer-reviewed publications is required. Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English are essential. Candidates will be stimulated to write personal grants.

 

CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT

The maximum salary for this position (32 - 36 hours) is € 5.292,00 gross per month based on full-time employment.

 

In addition, we offer an annual benefit of 8.3%, holiday allowance, travel expenses and career opportunities. The terms of employment are in accordance with the Cao University Medical Centers (UMC).

 

DEPARTMENT

UMC-Utrecht is one of the top ranked academic medical centers in Europe. The UMCU (10,000 employees) and Utrecht University (30,000 students) are located within one campus. The UMC-Utrecht has a delegated responsibility for education in health care, medicine and biomedical sciences, and for medical research in synergy with the Utrecht University (UU), which ranks 6th on listings of top EU research facilities. The Department of Medical Microbiology is embedded in UMC’s research program Infection and Immunity. This research program consists of 30 research groups and 180 PhD students. The position is based within the research team of dr. Pieter-Jan Haas, which focuses on bacteriophages and their use in anti-infective therapies. The team is well embedded in the research groups at the department, which provides an stimulating and highly collaborative research environment that studies microbiology with an emphasis host-pathogen interaction and translation to clinical practice. The department has access to multiple core facilities that are useful for the project, e.g. flowcytometry, microscopy, sequencing and computational facilities.

 

ANTICIPATED START

Q2 of 2024

 

CONTACT

To apply contact Pieter-Jan Haas with CV and motivation letter

 

Deadline: open until a suitable candidate has been found (April 24, 2024)



Personal grants

If you are interested in postdoc or PhD opportunities you are welcome to send your CV. Postdoc candidates are encouraged to apply for a Marie-Curie, VENI, EMBO, Rubicon or other post-doctoral grants, and are looking for a host laboratory, please send me an e-mail with CV.

 

Calls

 

Personal grant for PhD's in life sciences (3 years)

NWO VENI Postdoctoral fellow program

 

Personal grant for PhD's in life sciences (2 years)

NWO Rubicon

 

Marie Curie EU fellowship (2 years)

EU MC


City of Delft
City of Delft

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