Last application date
Dec 30, 2017 00:00
DI04 - Department of Virology, parasitology and immunology
Limited duration
Master Veterinary Medicine, Master Biochemistry, Master Biology, Master Biological Science, Master Bioengineering, Master Medical Science ( all with distinction )
Occupancy rate
Vacancy Type
Research staff

Job description


The effect of different types of exercise and dietary changes on fecal microbiome, fecal metabolome and metabolic fingerprint of skeletal muscle in the equine athlete.


Exercise training effects on gut microbiome and on muscle metabolic status play a pivotal role in performance management in equine athletes. In the current PhD proposal the differential effect of training types on the equine microbiome and muscle metabolomic profile is studied using 16S rRNA high throughput sequencing of the microbiome and muscle and fecal metabolomic fingerprinting as broad exploration techniques, together with more conventional techniques such as Western-Blot, QPCR, histology and in the field performance testing.

The Phd project fits into two well-controlled equine training trials, in each of which a different training type will be tested, and during which a combination is made of longitudinal follow up of modification of the fecal microbiome and the fecal and muscular metabolome, in conjunction with longitudinal follow-up of blood inflammatory markers. The current research proposal will allow us to map out exercise effects on the microbiome, blood inflammatory markers and muscle metabolome. This will allow us in the future to formulate optimal training programs, perform future studies to map out the effects of nutritional interventions on top of different training protocols and develop a better understanding of the interaction between the microbiome and the muscle metabolome. The project will allow to make the first steps towards a mechanistic approach to obtain more insight into exercise~microbiome~muscle metabolism interactions.

What can we offer you?

A PhD position within a young and dynamic research group. Our group consists mostly of equine veterinarians and masters bioengineering who have a passion for Exercise Physiology and research. The PhD research entails both lab work and field work. Following analysis techniques will be applied throughout the project (in this you will be supported by the rest of the team): immunohistochemistry, qPCR, muscle and fecal metabolomics, muscle morphometrics (ultrasound), qPCR, 16srRNA sequencing. Besides that you will perform performance tests with trotter horses on the race track: training monitoring, muscle biopsies, etc. You will get: The possibility to perform PhD research in the interesting field of exercise physiology, using the latest techniques, within a young, dynamic, enthusiastic well experienced team. You will have a chance to also take part in human exercise physiology research in the sideline. In addition to the tasks that you perform for the research project you can also improve your research skills in the exclusive PhD training program of the UGent. The Ghent University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine has been rewarded with the Top 1 position in the Shanghai Ranking

Profile of the candidate

  • We are looking for an enthusiastic and flexible candidate, with excellent communication skills to be part of our team.
  • You have a master's degree and finished your studies at least with distinction.
  • You are a team player and willing to combine many tasks such as labwork, together with in the field work and involvement in practical education of veterinary students.
  • You are mobile (car and driver’s license) and keen to learn new things with an important degree of independence.
  • Veterinary experience is not necessarily a requirement, but lab/research experience deserves a preference, just like having a laboratory animal science certificate.
  • Language skills: English fluently written and spoken.

How to apply

Please send your detailed letter of intent, a curriculum vitae, contact details of at least three people that can act as reference and a copy of grades obtained the last three years of veterinary school to all three following mail addresses, in one mail message: