PhD position Novel aquatic enzymes and functional carbohydrates (1.0 FTE)

Research / Academic


Complex polysaccharide degradation and utilization by bacteria is only achieved by the concerted action of various enzymes synthetized by species typically found in human gut and animal rumen. These bacterial species contain physically linked genes (Polysaccharide Utilization Loci, PULs). PULs encode proteins and enzymes that work together to degrade complex dietary polysaccharides to oligosaccharides and even monosaccharides. The more complex the polysaccharide, the more complex will be the PULs. Currently, PULs are only explored from land microbiomes and recently, first successes have been achieved in the field of new enzyme discovery.

The aim of the PhD project to exploit PUL context in aquatic bacteria, an unexplored source, which is powerful route to discover novel carbohydrate-active enzymes, CAZymes. In a guilty-by- association reasoning, these catalytic enzymes will be used to investigate and modify host plant cell wall while uncovering the properties of the cell wall polysaccharides.

Discovery of novel aquatic bacterial enzymes targeting host polysaccharides is the first step to develop new commercial enzyme cocktails for designs of efficient enzymatic pretreatment strategies functionalizing economically appealing biomass as food ingredients.

We are looking for a motivated candidate with a master degree in Biotechnology or Biochemistry and strong affinity towards analytical chemistry. In addition, the candidate has a good command of English (oral and written), is enthusiastic and a team player, has a passion for science and possesses excellent communication skills and the ability to write scientific papers and deliver presentations.

The preferred starting date is January 2019


The successful PhD candidate will have the following qualifications:
• a master's degree in Biotechnology, Biochemistry or a related area
• affinity towards analytical chemistry
• previous experience in protein sequence analysis, protein production and purification in E. coli, carbohydrate analysis, enzyme characterization
• very good knowledge of written and spoken English (B2 or C1).

Salary Benefits:

The University of Groningen offers a salary of € 2,266 (salary scale Dutch Universities) gross per month in the first year up to a maximum of € 2,897 gross per month in the fourth and final year, based on a full-time position (1.0 FTE), excluding a 8% holiday allowance and a 8.3% end-of-the-year bonus. The position is limited to a period of 4 years. The first year constitutes a probationary period, with an evaluation of the candidate’s performance after 9 months. The objective of this evaluation is to establish whether the candidate will be able to finish a PhD thesis in the remaining three years. If the performance evaluation is positive, the candidate’s contract will be extended by another 3 years, for a total of 4 years.

How to apply
You may apply for this position until 18 October 23:59h / before 19 October 2018 Dutch local time by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Applications for the position should include:
• curriculum vitae (name, address, degree(s) with transcript(s) of grades, research experience, educational and employment history, etc.)
• motivation letter
• name and (email) address of two academic references.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.
Work Hours:

38 hours per week


Broerstraat 5