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PhD: Biotechnology & Biosafety

Foreign DNA in complex engineered microbiomes of water resource recovery facilities

10 maanden geleden


Mekelweg, Delft, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur
€ 2840 per maand


A PhD position is available at the TU Delft Department of Biotechnology starting February 2018 for an exceptional doctoral researcher to fundamentally investigate the fate and exchange of foreign DNA in complex engineered microbiomes of water resource recovery facilities. The fundamental findings obtained using environmental systems biology and biotechnology approaches will be utilised to survey and prevent the transmission of genetically modified fragments and resistance genes from industrial and urban settlements into natural ecosystems, and to minimise public health impacts.


The position targets an exceptional candidate with an MSc degree in Biotechnological, Chemical or Environmental Life Science and Engineering, or a comparable degree. Wet-lab and dry-lab advanced skills in pure-culture and/or mixed-culture biotechnology, systems (micro)biology, molecular bioscience, gene transfer, omics and bioinformatics are key. Proficiency in spoken and written English and scientific communication are required to integrate the TU Delft doctoral context, interact inside the project consortium, and valorise the research at a high level. Learning basic Dutch is encouraged for regional integration. The PhD candidate will contribute as a teaching assistant in the Life Science and Technology and/or Civil Engineering and Geosciences programmes at the TU Delft.


The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers child care and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.
As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit graduateschool.tudelft.nl/ for more information.

To apply, please e-mail a detailed electronic application as a single PDF file including: a 1-page cover letter, a detailed CV and publication list, official academic transcripts, a 500-words statement of research interests, a copy of one publication or a 500-words summary of the MSc thesis, and contacts of three academic references by 15 January 2018 to David Weissbrodt, Assistant Professor (d.g.weissbrodt@tudelft.nl; www.tudelft.nl/davidweissbrodt). When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number TNWBT17-072 in your e-mail correspondence and cover letter. Late applications and incomplete applications will not be considered.

Additional information

David Weissbrodt
+31 (0)15-2781169

Technische Universiteit Delft


Delft University of Technology (the TU Delft) is a multifaceted institution offering education and carrying out research in the technical sciences at an internationally recognised level. Education, research and design are strongly oriented towards applicability. The TU Delft develops technologies for future generations, focusing on sustainability, safety and economic vitality. At the TU Delft you will work in an environment where technical sciences and society converge. The TU Delft comprises eight faculties, unique laboratories, research institutes and schools. Applied Sciences Industrial and pharmaceutical biotechnologies gained from genetically modified organisms. Biosynthetic information originates from large gene clusters present in bacterial genomes, such as from soil actinomycetes. Sequencing propels the discovery of new drugs by providing access to thousands of new clusters. Synthetic biology provides ways to refactor and introduce clusters in production hosts at a large scale, while equipping them with resistance genes to prevent self-killing. Escape of producer strains in the environment is unlikely, but their synthetic DNA may end up in sewage treatment plants before release into nature. These installations may represent reservoirs for integration, proliferation, and spread of engineered DNA fragments and antibiotic resistance genes.

This NWO Biotechnology & Biosafety project launched by Leiden University (Claessen and van Wezel groups) and Delft University of Technology (Weissbrodt and van Loosdrecht groups) aims to systematically assess the fate of foreign DNA from strain design to nature and individual microbes. Collaboration is fostered with the Delft Bioinformatics Lab (Abeel group), Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego (Jensen group), and J. Craig Venter Institute (Glass group).