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PhD - Phytochemicals as inhibitors of bacterial efflux pumps

We are looking for a PhD candidate for the project "Phytochemicals as inhibitors of bacterial efflux pumps". The selected candidate will be part of a larger …

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Droevendaalsesteeg, Wageningen, Gelderland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur


We are looking for a PhD candidate for the project "Phytochemicals as inhibitors of bacterial efflux pumps". The selected candidate will be part of a larger project, working with other researchers at Wageningen University, Goethe University Frankfurt (Germany) and University of Cagliari (Italy). The overall goal is to study the inhibition of bacterial efflux pumps by phytochemicals in order to identify promising candidates for novel antimicrobial agents against Gram negative pathogens.

Efflux pumps are membrane transporters in Gram negative bacteria that expulse toxic compounds out of the cell. These pumps are part of the intrinsic resistance of Gram negative bacteria and contribute to the loss of antibiotic efficiency. By neutralizing or inhibiting the activity of these efflux pumps, the efficiency of the antibiotics can be restored. Natural products, such as phytochemicals, have been shown to act as inhibitors of some efflux pumps. However, the exact structure-function relationships, as well as the mechanism of pump inhibition, have not been established.

The PhD candidate will use a combination of in-vitro and in-silico techniques to study the efficacy, safety and mode of action of phytochemicals as inhibitors of these pump systems. This project will require an interdisciplinary approach and affinity for (bio)chemistry, molecular microbiology and (preferably) molecular modelling techniques. As such, this project should provide a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind efflux pump inhibition by phytochemicals and ultimately to propose candidate phytochemicals to be used as inhibitors of efflux pumps in Gram negative bacteria.


For this position we are looking for a candidate with the following qualifications:

  • MSc in the field of biological chemistry, molecular microbiology, or food chemistry with strong affinity to natural product chemistry and antimicrobial research
  • Experience with (bio)molecular modelling is a benefit
  • Excellent research skills
  • Ability to work in a multi-disciplinary project
  • Excellent communication skills
The selected PhD fellow should have passed for an English proficiency test (e.g. TOEFLL or IELTS) before the employment starts.


We offer you a temporary position for a period of 1.5 years with extension of 2.5 years after successful evaluation. Gross salary per month € 2325,-. in the first year rising up to € 2972,- per month in the fourth year, based on a full-time appointment.

In addition, we offer:
  • 8% holiday allowance;
  • a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • flexible working hours and holidays can possibly be determined in consultation so that an optimal balance between work and private life is possible;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes;
  • a flexible working time: the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra and thereby to build up extra leave;
  • a choice model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan;
  • a lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place on the Wageningen Campus. A place where education, research and business are represented;
  • use the sports facilities on campus.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact dr. Carla Araya Cloutier, Food Chemistry (carla.arayacloutier@wur.nl; tel.: +31 317 485 440).
For more information about the procedure, please contact Greetje van de Hulsbeek, HR Advisor, e-mail: greetje.vandehulsbeek@wur.nl.

This vacancy is open until 13 december 2019. You can apply online at: https://www.wur.nl/en/Jobs/Vacancies.htm