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PhD in Evolutionary Biology

Closing date
30 Aug 2024

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

Job Details

The VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology (PSB, is a world-leading plant science institute with the mission to integrate genetics, genomics and computational biology to unravel the biology of plants and to improve the sustainability and climate resilience of crops. The Maere lab at PSB ( is active in the fields of computational biology, systems biology and evolutionary genomics. Current research topics include testing a novel experimental setup to unravel the molecular wiring of plant phenotypes under field conditions, studying dosage balance-sensitive genes in plants, and modeling the evolution of transcriptional systems in silico. We are currently looking for a talented PhD student to work on experimental evolution of diatoms in the context of a UGent GOA project (4-year position).

Project description Diatoms are the most productive and species-rich group of microalgae. They have extensively colonized marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems, contributing 20% of all carbon fixation on Earth. Despite the global significance of diatoms, the genetic basis and regulatory mechanisms underlying their evolutionary and ecological success remain largely uncharted territory. Unraveling these mechanisms is crucial to assess how diatoms respond to climate change. In this project, we will experimentally evolve diatoms under selection for resilience against warmer temperatures, and chart the molecular mechanisms underlying diatom adaptation. For the experimental evolution part, we will collaborate closely with the lab of Wim Vyverman at UGent (

  • You have an MSc degree in Bioengineering, Biology, Biotechnology, Computational Biology or Bioinformatics.
  • You are fascinated by biological evolution.
  • Experience with diatom cultivation, experimental evolution and/or evolutionary genomics data analysis is a plus.
  • You are fluent in English (spoken and written) and master several programming languages.
  • You can work in a team as well as independently.
  • You are meticulous, well-organized, responsible and self-critical.
  • You take pride in delivering high-quality work.
  • You have a passion for science and you can think outside the box.
We offer
  • An exciting work environment in a top research institute.
  • The opportunity to be part of a dynamic, interdisciplinary and international team.
  • A challenging project in a competitive field of science.
  • Ample opportunity to learn new skills.
  • An attractive salary.
Please complete the online application procedure and include a detailed CV, a letter of motivation and the contact details of two referees. Applications are accepted until the position is filled. For more information, contact Steven Maere (



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. 

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Rijvisschestraat 120

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