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PhD Candidate Microbial Proteomics

The Center of Proteomics and Metabolomics is looking for a PhD candidate to continue studies on a newly discovered class of bacterial proteases that has a unique specificity for cleaving between two proline residues (Pro-Pro EndoPeptidase, PPEP).

7 maanden geleden


Albinusdreef, Leiden, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
36 uur
€ 3101 per maand


A combination of biochemistry (e.g. recombinant protein production/purification and in vitro activity assays), proteomics (e.g. LC-MS/MS, TAILS) and molecular bacteriology (e.g. cloning, gene knockout) techniques will be applied. For this purpose, you will work both at the Center for Proteomics and Metabolomics and at the Department of Medical Microbiology of the LUMC. For several parts of the project, collaborations with international research teams have been established. The results from this project will give novel insights into the role of PPEPs and their substrates in the Clostridioides difficile life cycle and provide prospects for novel therapeutic intervention strategies.

Summary of the required skills

· You have a background in the life sciences (biochemistry, biomedical sciences or similar)

· You have experience with protein chemistry and/or molecular biology and, preferably, also with mass spectrometry

· You will collaborate multidisciplinary


The PhD-student we are looking for has a master’s degree in the life sciences (e.g. Biochemistry, Biomedical Sciences). You are highly motivated to pursue a scientific career. You have prior skills with biochemistry/proteomics and/or molecular biology. Furthermore, you are flexible and have demonstrable ability to function in a team, as well as in between teams, and you possess solid communication skills in both spoken and written English.


You will be employed on the basis of a 36-hour week. Appointment is for a maximum of four years, to be completed with a doctoral thesis. Your salary is € 2,422 gross per month in the first year, amounting to € 3,103 in the fourth year (scale PhD students, CLA UMC).

Additional information

Project information

The Center for Proteomics and Metabolomics and the Department of Medical Microbiology have discovered a new class of bacterial proteases that has a unique specificity for cleaving between two proline residues. Consequently, we have coined the name Pro-Pro endopeptidase (PPEP) for this family. Currently, we study two members, one (PPEP-1) in Clostridioides difficile, a human pathogen that can cause colitis, and one in Paenibacillus alvei (PPEP-2). Both enzymes are secreted and cleave bacterial cell surface adhesion proteins. Therefore, a role for these proteases in bacterial colonisation has been proposed. Using bioinformatics, we have found another PPEP homolog in C. difficile (PPEP-3) but the function of PPEP-3 is hitherto unknown. The current project is based on a recent grant (NWO Open Competition ENW KLEIN) and aims to further elucidate the role of PPEPs and their substrates in the life cycle of C. difficile and to illuminate the key features of the different members within the family that can explain their substrate specificity.

Contact: Paul Hensbergen, associate professor, Center for Proteomics and Metabolomics, telephone +31(0)71 526 63 94. Email: P.J.Hensbergen@lumc.nl