PhD position Computational and experimental characterisation of fungal enzymes


Faculty of Science and Engineering


University of Groningen

Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 32,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. Quality has been our top priority for over four hundred years, and with success: the University is currently in or around the top 100 on several influential ranking lists.

Researchers at the Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy (GRIP) strive to find new and innovative drugs and therapies and wish to improve the use of existing drugs. GRIP’s research ambition is to contribute to the entire field of the pharmaceutical sciences, from basic areas such as chemical analysis and synthesis to pharmaceutical practice and patient-oriented research. Bridging the gap between the fundamental natural sciences (such as chemistry and physics) and the medical/clinical sciences in the field of medicinal products is one of the core activities of the institute. Knowledge from different research disciplines is combined in the design and evaluation of optimal drugs, products and therapies that are being made available to society. Our research is of high societal impact with several drugs or related products developed in-house on the market or in clinical trials, several spin-offs, a strong portfolio of patents and research that contributes directly to healthcare policymaking.

Job description

We are looking for a talented and enthusiastic biochemist for a fully funded 4-year PhD position. The PhD candidate for this project will be working in the Pharmaceutical Biology group (Department of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Biology) in Groningen.

You will receive excellent training through cutting-edge research projects, advanced courses and training opportunities, complemented by workshops on generic research, transferable skills and teaching. As a PhD candidate, you are committed to conduct independent and original scientific research, to report on this research in international publications and presentations, and to present the results of the research in a PhD dissertation, to be completed within 4 years.

Project summary
Enzymes are nature’s tools to build sophisticated molecules. As biochemists, we like to explore the natural capabilities of these tools and to repurpose them for new applications. This project aims to investigate fungal biosynthetic enzymes and pathways in order to assign biological functions to as-of-yet uncharacterised enzymes. We will employ bioinformatics, molecular biology, structural biology and analytical chemistry to correlate sequence to function and function to structure and to build microbial cell factories for pharmaceutical applications.


- you have a MSc with specialisation in either protein biochemistry, molecular biology or bioinformatics
- skills in organic and analytical chemistry and/or scripting will be considered as an asset
- you have good command of English (oral and written)
- you are enthusiastic, a teamworker and have a passion for science
- you are highly motivated to work within the field of enzyme discovery and pathway engineering
- you possess excellent communication skills, the ability to write scientific papers and deliver presentations.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a salary of € 2,325 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 2,972 gross per month in the fourth and final year for a full-time position
• a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
• an 8.3% year-end bonus.

The position offered is for four years. You are first offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the contract period is to be expected. A PhD training programme is part of the agreement and you will be enrolled in the Graduate School of the Faculty.

The conditions of employment are available at the University of Groningen website under Human Resources:

The PhD project is supervised by Dr Kristina Haslinger.

The preferred starting date is before 30 November 2020

Job Application

You may apply for this position until 8 July 23.59h / before 9 July 2020 Dutch local time, by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Applications for the position should include (as a single PDF file):

• cover letter with background and motivation to apply for this position (letter of motivation attachment)
• curriculum vitae, including details of bachelor and master degrees and publication list, if applicable (CV attachment)
• contact details of 2 people who can provide information on your suitability for the position (extra attachment).

We are an equal opportunity employer that values diversity. We have adopted an active policy to increase the number of female scientists across all disciplines of the university. Therefore, women are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers,

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Kristina Haslinger
+31 50 36 34796

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 220202

Digital application form