PhD Preventive Dentistry

Research / Academic

Project description

Antibiotic resistance is a major and ever-increasing health threat, projecting to result in 10 million deaths annually by 2050. An often-overlooked cause for this resistance is the fact that many antibacterial agents are unable to effectively target intracellular bacteria. Hidden inside their host cells, these intracellular bacteria can manipulate the immune system, evade immune surveillance and/or find shelter in intracellular compartments to escape antibacterial agents.

In the NWO-funded project Chiron, we aim to address this pressing issue by developing novel carriers and innovative infection models (both 2D and 3D) to eradicate these intracellular pathogens and unveil underlying mechanisms driving resistance.

This project offers a unique opportunity for interdisciplinary and international collaboration, particularly with the Radboudumc Biomaterials research group and several industry partners. The candidate, alongside our team, will be responsible for research on infection model development, investigating resistant mechanisms and assessing the effectiveness of the novel drug carriers.

The candidate will be situated within the Department of Preventive Dentistry, specialized in microbiological aspects of dental research. The department comprises researchers experienced in various fields: clinical dentistry, molecular biology, microbiology, microbial ecology and bioinformatics and regularly hosts international PhD students and postdoc researchers. This fostering a supportive and intellectually stimulating working environment.

The candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of ACTA, University of Amsterdam and supervised by dr. Dongmei Deng. Besides this vacancy for a PhD candidate we also have a vacancy for a Postdoc.

Your duties

  • Develop in vitro infection models incorporating host cells and either aerobic (e.g. Staphylococcus aureus) or anaerobic bacteria (e. g. Porhyromonas gingivalis).
  • Utilize the infection models to assess the effectiveness of novel drug carriers in combating infections.
  • Perform imaging and omics analysis to study microbe-host interactions in vitro.
  • Analyze data and compile research findings into scientific publications and progress reports.
  • Coordinate user committee meetings.
  • Co-supervise and mentor trainees and students involved in the project.


  • Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Immunology, Biomedical Sciences, or closely related fields. Applicants nearing the completion of their Master's degree are also encouraged to apply.
  • A strong foundation in laboratory techniques such as microbiology, mammalian cell culture, microbe-host co-culturing and/or 3D cell culturing is preferred.
  • Demonstrated motivation and exceptional curiosity with problem-solving abilities.
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
  • Proficiency in English, along with excellent academic presentation and writing skills.

Salary Benefits:

A challenging position in a socially engaged organisation. At ACTA, you contribute to education, research and service for a better world. And that is valuable. So in return for your efforts, we offer you:

  • a salary of € 2.770,00 (PhD) and maximum € 3.539,00 (PhD) gross per month in the fourth year, for a full-time employment
  • a temporary contract for 38 hours per week, initially for one year, followed by a performance evaluation. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended for an additional 3 years.

We also offer you attractive fringe benefits and arrangements. Some examples:

  • A full-time 38-hour working week comes with a holiday leave entitlement of 232 hours per year. If you choose to work 40 hours, you have 96 extra holiday leave hours on an annual basis. For part-timers, this is calculated pro rata.
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package

Gustav Mahlerlaan 3004