PhD position in systems biology


Faculty of Science and Engineering


University of Groningen

Job description

Project description: Cell growth and division are fundamental cellular processes whose proper coordination is essential for cell viability and organismal health. For this reason, the growth and cell division cycle of all eukaryotic cells, from baker’s yeast to mammalian cells, are tightly regulated by several conserved signaling pathways that interact with each other. However, we still do not fully understand how the pathways that control cell growth are coupled to the cell cycle machinery that controls DNA replication and division. In particular, we still lack an overview of i) which pathway components are implicated in this coupling and ii) which cell cycle phases and processes they affect.
Using budding yeast as a model organism, our goal in this project is to systematically identify and characterize components of the main growth-regulatory pathways (TORC1, TORC2, PKA and AMPK) that have the strongest effects on cell cycle progression. To this end, we will use a combination of targeted perturbations of protein abundances, time-lapse microscopy and statistical modelling. Our work will elucidate a largely unexplored aspect of growth regulators, and contribute to our understanding of fundamental cellular processes which are intimately linked with human health.
Tools and methods: microscopy, microfluidics, CRISPR genome editing, auxin-mediated protein depletion, generalized linear models.

The Molecular Systems Biology (MSB) group at the University of Groningen (NL) has an opening for a 4-year PhD position. The University of Groningen, located in the north of The Netherlands, enjoys an international reputation as one of the oldest and leading research universities in Europe. The MSB group, part of the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute (GBB), aims at generating a systems-level understanding of cellular metabolism (Prof. Matthias Heinemann), growth regulation by signaling pathways (Prof. Andreas Milias-Argeitis) and the regulation of cell division mechanisms (Dr Julia Kamenz). Towards these goals, the group members combine experimental approaches using state-of-the-art single-cell technologies such as microfluidics and optogenetics, and develop new methods to address the computational challenges that arise. Together, the members of the international and interdisciplinary team (PhD students and postdocs with backgrounds in biology, engineering, physics and mathematics) create an inspiring and highly collaborative research atmosphere. The description for the currently open position is provided below. The project will be supervised by Prof. A. Milias-Argeitis.


• a Master’s degree with a background in systems biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics or engineering, and ideally some undergraduate research experience. Familiarity with yeast genetic engineering and fluorescence microscopy is a plus. Candidates with only wet lab experience should be willing to familiarize themselves with coding and image analysis techniques; candidates with only computational experience should be willing to carry out wet lab work
• good knowledge of a high-level programming language (e.g. Matlab, Python or R)
• good command of English (oral and written) and possess excellent communication and collaboration skills.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

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

• a salary of € 2,770 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,539 gross per month (based on fulltime employment) in the fourth and final year
• a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
• an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and participation in a pension scheme for employees.

The successful candidate will first be 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 successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected. A PhD training program is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.

Starting date: as soon as possible

Job Application

Do you meet our qualification criteria? If yes, your application should include:

1. CV
2. Information about grades and other measures of success
3. Two letters of recommendation (these can also be emailed directly)
4. Statement of prior experience/expertise could be connected to the project.

You may apply for this position until 1 October 11:59pm / before 2 October 2023 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:[…]/

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

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Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Prof. Andreas Milias-Argeitis

In your application, please always include the job opening ID V23.0164

Digital application form