PhD Student

Last application date
Jul 05, 2022 00:00
DI05 - Department of Pathobiology, Pharmacology and Zoological Medicine
Limited duration
Master Veterinary Medicine, Biochemistry and Biotechnology/ Bio-engineering/ Biology or equivalent
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

We are looking for a starting scientist that is interested in preparing and submitting a Baekeland mandate application on a topic related to dietary additives in animals to reduce inflammatory responses in the gut. Baekeland mandates support basic research that – if successful – have clear economic objectives and offers added value to the company involved in the project. The joint University-industry research project is directed towards obtaining a doctorate (PhD) diploma. In the project we aim to evaluate novel dietary additives on intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP) activity in the intestinal tract. IAP has been shown to detoxify LPS on the mucosal surface, and thus consequently reduce epithelial barrier defects associated with LPS-induced inflammation. In addition, the project will focus on anti-oxidant activities of these dietary additives, as oxidative stress has been associated with inflammation, unfavourable microbiota shifts towards mucosal expansion of Gram-negative Enterobacteriaceae that thus contain LPS and consequently can cause health problems. The animal species of focus is meat-type poultry, as the performance of these fast-growing animals is highly depending on a beneficial diet-host-microbiota interaction, and the poultry industry is seeking for alternatives to antimicrobials that were commonly used in the past to promote gut health and reduce inflammation. This research project offers a combination of in vivo work, wet lab and dry lab work, ranging from animal experimentation, in vitro work with cell cultures, QPCR, NGS sequencing, immunohistochemistry and histology, and a variety of other techniques, depending on the project progress.

Description of the project type:

Baekeland mandates | Agentschap Innoveren en Ondernemen (

Some papers on the topic:

Recent advances in intestinal alkaline phosphatase, inflammation, and nutrition | Nutrition Reviews | Oxford Academic (

The Role of Intestinal Alkaline Phosphatase in Inflammatory Disorders of Gastrointestinal Tract - PubMed (

Dietary Factors as Triggers of Low-Grade Chronic Intestinal Inflammation in Poultry - PubMed (

What do we offer, if the project is funded:
 Working in a pleasant work environment with a young and dynamic team, in a multi-partner context (ie multiple PhD students and post-docs working on a variety of related topics are present)
 A combination of in vivo animal experimentation, wet lab and dry lab work
 The opportunity to obtain a PhD
 Potential practical/industrial application of your research results

Job profile

 Master degree in Veterinary Medicine, Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Bio-engineering, Biology or equivalent
 Excellent communication skills and proficient in English
 Highly motivated and team-oriented
 You have a specific interest in intestinal health and the diet-host-microbiome cross-talk
 You have an interest in collaborating with an industrial partner, with continuous direct interactions
 You have the potential to independently figure out how techniques work, and are able to write a full grant proposal under supervision, and design protocols
 You are willing to work with lab animals, mainly poultry
 You are willing to learn basics of bioinformatics tools and software if needed, such as analysis of 16S sequencing data

How to apply

Send your motivation letter, scientific resume, relevant publications (when applicable), and two reference contacts to Prof. Filip Van Immerseel (