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ERC-funded PhD Position in Molecular Genetics

Closing date
15 Jul 2024

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Life Science
Job Type
PhD Position
Employment - Hours
Full time
Professional certification

Job Details

ERC-funded PhD position in molecular genetics: Unravelling the eukaryotic post-transcriptional regulatory code Job description Are you interested in unraveling a central, yet understudied mechanism in eukaryotic cells? Join our multidisciplinary and international team to perform ground-breaking research aimed at understanding how cells control gene activity and protein expression.

We are looking for a highly motivated and talented PhD student with an MSc degree in biological engineering, molecular biology, genetics and/or microbiology (or equivalent). You will join a young and motivated international team of scientists working on regulatory genomics, within the framework of the European Research Council (ERC)-funded Synergy Grant EPIC. This exciting project aims to understand how cells control gene activity and protein expression, which is crucial to understanding how cells function.

You will study transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation leveraging the unparalleled molecular toolbox of the eukaryotic model system Saccharomyces cerevisiae and other eukaryotic fungal species. You will perform innovative assays to probe the cells across all layers of gene regulation (i.e. chromatin, DNA, RNA and protein level) under different environmental conditions.

Your work will consist of a variable mix of experiments and analyses, including basic microbiology, transformation, high-throughput phenotyping using robots, state-of-the-art DNA and RNA sequencing and analysis, synthetic biology approaches. You will be based in Leuven,  but will also collaborate with the two other groups involved in this project with complementary expertise (Vicente Pelechano, Karolinska Institute, development of high-throughput omics assays and Julien Gagneur, Technical University of Munich, AI and bioinformatics) via regular online meetings and short research stays. In this way, your data will contribute to building a model of the regulatory code. You will perform experimental validation by using this model to design genes and cells for biotechnological applications.

Who we are The lab for Systems Biology of Kevin Verstrepen is a research team at the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology. Our team focuses on genomics, genetics, epigenetics, transcriptomics and evolution, using yeast as a model. We combine wet-lab and computational research to investigate how biological systems work and evolve and use this knowledge to generate superior microbes for use in a greener industry. Please visit us at and for more information.

The lab is located at KU Leuven, one of the oldest and most prominent universities in Europe, consistently ranked within the top 50 worldwide universities. Leuven is located 10 miles from Brussels, with frequent direct train connections to Brussels airport.



  • You have an MSc degree in biotechnology, biology, biochemistry, bio-engineering or equivalent.  Preference will be given to candidates with an excellent academic record.
  • You have a keen interest and at least basic laboratory experience in molecular biology and microbiology
  • You are fluent in English, for both written and oral communication
  • You are an enthused team player who is open and respectful to other cultures, opinions and ways of life
  • You are accurate and critical of your work and its implementation
  • You are expected to write a doctoral thesis after 4 years

Desirable but not required 

  • Experience with yeast molecular biology (PCR, transformation, large-scale assays)
  • Knowledge of statistics packages and/or data analysis using R

Key personal characteristics 

  • You love working in a multicultural, international and multidisciplinary team and enjoy diversity
We offer
  • A fully-funded, full-time position as PhD student (4 years) in a stimulating and supportive international research environment, with English as the main language
  • The possibility to participate in international conferences and collaborations.
  • The ability to work on scientifically exceptional and high-impact research topics
  • Access to state-of-the-art tools and research infrastructure
  • Excellent training in academic, technical and career skills.
  • Preferred starting date is July 1st, 2024, but if needed, the starting date can be delayed by a few months
How to apply?

Motivated candidates are asked to apply online via the online application procedure.

A complete application file (English) should contain the following documents:

  • your cover/motivation letter stating career goals, experience, and how these relate to the current position
  • your CV including a detailed description of your study trajectory, grades and positioning
  • contact information of at least 2 references


VIB’s core mission is to generate disruptive insights in the molecular underpinning of life and to translate these actively into impactful innovations for patients and society. VIB is an independent research institute where some 1,800 top scientists from Belgium and abroad conduct pioneering basic research. As such, they are pushing the boundaries of what we know about molecular mechanisms and how they rule living organisms such as human beings, animals, plants, and microorganisms. Based on a close partnership with five Flemish universities – Ghent University, KU Leuven, University of Antwerp, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and Hasselt University – and supported by a solid funding program, VIB unites the expertise of all its collaborators and research groups in a single institute. VIB’s technology transfer activities translate research results into concrete benefits for society such as new diagnostics and therapies and agricultural innovations. These applications are often developed by young start-ups from VIB or through collaborations with other companies. This also leads to additional employment and bridges the gap between scientific research and entrepreneurship. VIB also engages actively in the public debate on biotechnology by developing and disseminating a wide range of science-based information. 

More info can be found on

Company info
Rijvisschestraat 120

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