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PhD in Molecular Microbiology, Infection mechanisms of archaeal viruses 1.0 FTE (221639)

Job description

The research group ‘Biology of Archaea and Viruses’ is studying infection mechanisms of archaeal viruses. Archaea are ubiquitous microorganisms that form a separate domain of life. Compared with bacteria and eukaryotes, relatively little is known about the cell biology and ecological roles of archaea. A prominent feature of archaea is the extraordinary diversity of their viruses. Archaeal viral particles have many unique shapes not encountered for bacterial and eukaryotic viruses. We focus on the infection strategies of archaeal viruses and study the molecular mechanisms underlying essential steps of the viral infection cycle, such as attachment, entry and release of the host cell. Since these processes take place at the cell surface, we are also actively studying the archaeal cell surface and surface appendages using the halophilic euryarchaeon Haloferax volcanii as a model. Studying the infection mechanisms of archaeal viruses can provide insight into the evolutionary history of viruses and help to understand adaptation to extreme environments. This particular project focusses on novel lysis mechanisms of halophilic viruses.

We offer an excellent opportunity to engage into an exciting PhD project that combines microbiology, genetic, microscopy and biochemical tools in the context of a dynamic and enthusiastic work environment, with state-of-the-art equipment and various chances for national and international scientific collaborations.

We are looking for a PhD candidate for this project. Your responsibilities will include:

• application of several light and electron microscopy techniques to study the infection strategies of selected viruses
• gevelopment of genetic tools for the halophilic virus-host model that is used for the project
• identification and structural characterization of proteins important for the egress of haloarchaeal viruses.


Your profile includes:

• a Master’s degree with top grades in biology, chemistry or biotechnology
• interest in the above indicated research fields
• previous experience with viruses of archaea/bacteria, electron/light microscopy or microbial genetics
• very strong command of English.


The University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook, deeply rooted in Groningen, City of Talent. Quality has been our top priority for over four hundred years, and with success: the University is currently in or around the top 100 on several influential ranking lists.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) is the largest faculty within the University. We offer first-rate education and research in a wide range of science and engineering disciplines, from classical disciplines such as mathematics, astronomy and mechanical engineering, to interdisciplinary fields such as artificial intelligence, pharmacy and nanoscience [change fields if desirable]. Our community has an open and informal character with students and staff from around the world.

A PhD position starting immediately is available in the laboratory of Prof. Tessa E.F. Quax in the department of Molecular Microbiology of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

Conditions of employment

We offer you, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a salary of € 2,434 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,111 gross per month in the fourth and final year
• a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
• an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
• the successful candidate will first be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected. A PhD training programme is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.

The preferred starting date is as soon as possible


Do you meet our qualification criteria? If yes, please send us a complete and convincing application with the below-mentioned supporting documents:

• letter of intent detailing why you are interested in this specific project and how your previous research qualifies you for the project (up to 1,500 words)
• curriculum vitae with list of publications (if applicable)
• short summary of your Master’s thesis (up to 1,000 words)
• suggestion of two referees with contact details.

The applications can be submitted until 14 december 11:59 pm / before 15 December 2021 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our University. We are committed to building a diverse faculty so you are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers,

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

  • Prof. Tessa E.F. Quax, t.e.f.quax

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.