Post-doc in Synthetic Biology/ Microbiology/Genetic Engineering


Faculty of Science and Engineering


University of Groningen

Job description

The University of Groningen (UG) is a highly international and renowned center of higher education located in the north of the Netherlands. Groningen is a vibrant and international student city (1 in 4 of the ~220k inhabitants is a student, and 1 in 4 students is international) located ~2 h northeast of Amsterdam and the UG ranks among the world’s top institutes. English is ubiquitously spoken in the Netherlands, and the university provides free language courses.

The Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute (GBB), one of the larger institutes of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), provides an excellent environment for top-notch research in the field of biomolecular sciences. The GBB contains twelve vibrant Departments with strong roots in biochemistry, biophysical chemistry, cell biology, computational biology, genetics, microbiology, molecular biology, and systems biology.

Job description
The group of Dr. Sonja Billerbeck has an open position for a four-year postdoc position.

This PhD position is part of a recently funded EIC Pathfinder Challenge that will be realized within an inter-European collaboration with two companies and one academic partner.

We aim to develop a microbial platform for the carbon net-zero production of dairy proteins, using engineered hydrogen oxidizing bacteria (eHOB). In this way, CO2 and later also N2 will be valorized into food-safe proteins, and thus completely disconnected from agriculture.
The main milk component, beta-lactoglobulin, was chosen as the first product but the platform is in principle modular and extendable to other products.

A successful candidate will – together with a PhD candiate who will be hired on the same project – develop advanced genetic and genomic engineering tools for hydrogen oxidizing bacteria and will apply these tools to build an efficient cell factory for protein secretion using the Design-Build-Test-Learn cycle. Our industrial and academic partners will complement these efforts via metabolic modeling and in-silico cell-factory design, high-throughput screening, and scaling to a real-world process.
This position is an exciting opportunity to work closely with industry to develop cutting-edge technologies towards a sustainable zero-carbon bio-economy.

The Billerbeck lab is interested in engineering yeast and bacteria towards applications in human health, agriculture and the bio-economy.
The Lab is embedded within the Department of Molecular Microbiology (MolMic) at the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute (GBB). MolMic also encompasses the Labs of Profs. Arnold Driessen, Dirk-Jan Scheffers, and Tessa Quax. MolMic is a group of ~ 30 enthusiastic microbiologists and together we study and engineer the functional diversity of microbes on a molecular level. We work with the whole microbial tree of life, from Archaea (Quax, Driessen), to Bacteria (Scheffers, Driessen, Billerbeck), to yeast (Billerbeck, Driessen) and filamentous fungi (Driessen). Methodologically we use molecular biology and protein biochemistry, fluorescent microscopy, genetic and genome engineering, next-generation sequencing, mass spectrometry, and other biophysical techniques.


The successful applicant has:

• a PhD in the field of molecular life sciences (e.g. microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, biotechnology, etc.)
• a creative, open, and resilient mind, and good English skills.
• excellent interpersonal skills combined with an ability to work efficiently both independently and in a team.
• interest in taking up supervision and reporting responsibilities.
• keen interest in new technologies and building industry relations.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 12 months.

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

• a salary from a minimum of € 3,557 gross per month up to a maximum of € 4,670 gross per month (salary scale 10) based on a full-time position and dependent on qualification and work experience
• a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
• a holiday allowance of 8% of gross annual income
• an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and participation in a pension scheme for employees
• a personal budget of € 1,000 per year that is dedicated for additional training and career activities
• first 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.

The preferred starting date is 1 September 2023

Job Application

Please send us a complete application with the below-mentioned supporting documents as a single PDF and upload this file as your 'Letter of motivation':

• cover letter with background and motivation to apply for this position
• curriculum vitae, including bachelor's, master's and PhD degrees, work, and research experience and a list of pubications
• detailed (max. 500 words) description of previous research experience
• contact details of at least two academic references who can provide information on your suitability for the position.

You may apply for this position until 1 June 11:59 pm / before 2 June 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:

We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Dr Sonja Billerbeck

In your application, please always include the job opening ID V23.0284

Extra informatie kan worden verkregen via een van de volgende links:

Groningen Biomolecular Science and Biotechnology Institute Research group of Dr Sonja Billerbeck Conditions of employment

Digital application form