PhD Student

Last application date
Sep 10, 2019 19:00
DI05 - Department of Pathology, bacteriology and poultry diseases
Employment category
Doctoral fellow
Limited duration
Master in Biochemistry and Biotechnology/ Bio-engineering/ Biology or equivalent
Occupancy rate
Vacancy Type
Research staff

Job description

The goal of the research project is to design a bacterial cocktail that protects piglets against E. coli associated post-weaning diarrhoea. Post-weaning diarrhoea is an economically important disease that is mainly caused by enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC). Additionally change from high digestible milk to less digestible dry feed, an impaired gut microbiota and poor immune status of the piglets might render them more susceptible to ETEC infection. In this project the piglet’s microbiome and its relation to host genetics and immune function will be assessed, leading to insights on the host-microbiome interaction and the potential predisposition to develop post-weaning diarrhoea. The identified beneficial bacterial taxa will be enriched using anaerobic fermentation after which an in vivo E. coli challenge model will be used to test the protective effect of the bacterial cocktail. This research project offers a unique combination of wet lab and dry lab work, ranging from on farm sampling, in vitro work with anaerobic bacteria, NGS sequencing and implementation of bioinformatics tools. What do we offer?

  • Working in a pleasant work environment with a young and dynamic team
  • A unique combination of wet lab and dry lab work
  • The opportunity to obtain a PhD
  • Collaboration with partners from the industry
  • A PhD scholarship of 1 year, which is extendible with another three years after positive evaluation

Profile of the candidate

  • Master degree in 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 host-microbiome cross-talk
  • You have a strong interest in NGS data analysis using existing bioinformatics tools. Experience in analysis of 16S sequencing or transcriptome data is considered a plus.
  • Knowledge of R and bioinformatics tools or the ability to rapidly gain this skill by following courses.

How to apply

Send your motivation letter, scientific resume, relevant publications (when applicable), and two reference contacts to Prof. dr. ir. Filip Van Immerseel ( and dr. Evy Goossens ( by e-mail. After the first screening, suitable candidates will be invited for an interview.