PhD Candidate in Toxicological risks of bee pollen supplements using new approach methodologies

Research / Academic

Do you consider the availability of safe food as one of the great challenges of our era? Are you eager to take the challenge to develop new approaches to comprehensively characterize food supplements and perform toxicological risk assessments of such complex mixtures?
Then this vacancy might be of interest to you.

Regulatory agencies like EFSA require a new workflow to quickly and effectively assess the health risk associated with the consumption of increasingly popular food supplements. These supplements are notoriously heterogenous in chemical composition owing to the different geographical origins and the lack of regulatory standards for the product. You will be using cutting-edge analytical tools in the omics domain to characterize chemical mixtures and then use these analyses to guide the development of rapid non-animal new approach methodologies for mixture toxicity testing.
Your work will contribute to assess the human toxicity/safety profiles for food supplements of emerging concern, like bee pollen.

Your duties and responsibilities include:

  • developing untargeted analytical strategies to comprehensively characterize the food supplement metabolome using high end mass spectrometers;
  • develop a tiered testing strategy using fractionation, (Q)SARs and in vitro cell based assays to determine potential mixture effects of chemicals in bee pollen;
  • publish the results of research in scientific journals and present them at international conferences;
  • working in collaboration with an amazing interdisciplinary project team. Daily supervision will be by dr. Laura Righetti (Organic Chemistry) and dr. Nynke Kramer (Toxicology).

You will work here:
The research is embedded within the chair groups Organic Chemistry (Organic Chemistry - WUR) and Toxicology (Toxicology - WUR). You will be co-supervised by Laura Righetti and Nynke Kramer.


You work in a critical, accurate and efficient way. You are versatile, self-motivated, and capable of working well in an interdisciplinary team. You are interested in food safety, and enthusiastic in learning and applying statistical methods to analyse complex metabolomics and toxicology data. You are eager to contribute to innovative research in the field of analytical chemistry and food toxicology.

You have:

  • successfully completed MSc in (bio)analytical chemistry, toxicology, food safety or related area, or any other degree which you see relevant for the position on offer;
  • strong interest in food safety and demonstrated skills in analytical chemistry, preferably high-resolution mass spectrometry;
  • a creative and curious mindset, eager to apply and develop novel methodologies and approaches;
  • excellent communication skills, both oral and written.

For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here.

Salary Benefits:

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2770,- per month rising to € 3539,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “ Best University ” in the Netherlands for the 18th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.

Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling. For instance under the "30% rule", certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.

Work Hours:

38 hours per week