PhD student

Last application date
Jun 03, 2019 14:47
DI04 - Department of Virology, parasitology and immunology
Limited duration
- Master of Science in Bio-engineering - Master of Science in Biochemistry and/or Biotechnology - Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences - Master of Science in Virology - Master of Science in Cell Biology - Master of Science in Veterinary Medicine
Occupancy rate
Vacancy Type
Research staff

Job description

The laboratory of Immunology (Department of Virology, Parasitology, Immunology) of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Ghent University (Salisburylaan 133, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium) is seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic PhD student to join our dynamic research team and to initiate his/her PhD research from September 2019 onwards.


Herpesviruses are extremely successful pathogens, causing lifelong infections of their host. These viruses have developed diverse mechanisms to delay and suppress recognition and elimination by the immune system of their host. Our research team at Ghent University has discovered a fascinating new mechanism that herpesviruses use to efficiently spread from one cell to another without being eliminated by virus-neutralizing antibodies. To this end, these viruses manipulate particular cell signaling pathways in the host cell, resulting in the formation of extremely long cell projections (so-called “tunneling nanotubes”) that make contact with distant cells and allow the spread of molecular information and even the virus itself from one cell to another (see e.g. Favoreel et al., 2005, PNAS, Van den Broeke et al., 2009, PNAS, Jansens et al., 2017, J Virol and references therein).

The aim of the PhD research is

  • (i) to unravel the mechanism how tunneling nanotubes are formed,
  • (ii) to investigate which type of molecular information is spread between cells via these tunneling nanotubes (e.g. miRNA, mRNA, DNA, proteins) and
  • (iii) to investigate how tunneling nanotubes may help the virus e.g. to cross particular physical barriers in the host (e.g. the basal membrane that underlies epithelial cells).

The data of this PhD research will generate novel insights in the domains of virology and cell biology and will provide valuable information with regard to the development of new antiviral strategies.

Profile of the candidate

  •  fascinated by virology, cell biology, cell signalling and immunology
  •  hands-on experience in a cell biology/molecular biology lab setting
  •  strong interest in higher-end microscopy (experience with confocal laser scanning microscopy or electron microscopy is a plus)
  •  highly motivated
  •  positive attitude
  •  team player
  •  fluent English (spoken and written)

How to apply

Send your motivational letter and CV via email to Prof. H. Favoreel () at the latest by Monday June 3, 2019.