PhD positions in RNA Structure Ensembles & Dynamics (2.0 FTE)


Faculty of Science and Engineering


Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, University of Groningen, V24.0031

Job description

We are looking for two talented and enthusiastic candidates for a fully funded 4-year PhD position. The PhD candidates for this project will be working at the RNA Structure Ensembles & Dynamics group led by Dr Danny Incarnato, which is embedded in the Molecular Genetics department of the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute (GBB -

PhD candidates 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. PhD candidates are expected to contribute 10% of their overall workload to teaching.

The successful applicants each will work on a multidisciplinary project aimed at dissecting RNA structure ensembles in living cells. Particularly, they will:

- develop novel methods (both wet and computational) for the accurate interrogation of RNA 2D and 3D structures in living cells
- apply novel as well as state-of-the-art methods to map and functionally characterize RNA structure ensembles under different cellular conditions
- explore the therapeutic potential of targeting RNA structure ensembles

The Incarnato group uses both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cellular models and exploits (or develops where needed) cutting-edge experimental methods (Marinus et al., 2021 [PMID: 33398343]; Incarnato et al., 2017 [PMID: 28934475]; Incarnato et al., 2017 [PMID: 28180324]; Incarnato et al., 2014 [PMID: 25323333]) and bioinformatics analysis tools (Morandi et al., 2022 [PMID: 35361788]; Morandi et al., 2021 [PMID: 33619392]; Incarnato et al., 2018 [PMID: 29893890]; Incarnato et al., 2016 [PMID: 26487736]; Incarnato et al., 2013 [PMID: 23863844]), complemented by state-of-the-art molecular genetics and biochemistry techniques.

Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen ( enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative center of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 30,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. As one of the best research universities in Europe, the University of Groningen has joined forces with other top universities and networks worldwide to become a truly global center of knowledge.

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. Twelve vibrant research groups with strong roots in biophysics, biochemistry & molecular biology, cell biology, chemistry, computational biology, microbiology or genetics are organized in two focal areas: ‘Molecular Mechanisms of Biological Processes’ and ‘Physiology and Systems Biology’.


The ideal candidates must be highly motivated, hard-working, ambitious, creative, and really enthusiastic about RNA. Preferably, we seek candidates who are interested in conducting both wet-lab and in silico research. They will have the following qualifications.


- MSc degree with specialization in molecular biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics/computational biology (or related disciplines)
- Experience with basic molecular biology research techniques (PCR, cloning, western blotting, etc.)
- Excellent command of the English language (both written and spoken)
- Ability to work independently and in a team


- Prior experience working with RNA and related techniques (RT-PCR, in vitro transcription, northern blotting, etc.)
- Knowledge of UNIX/Linux computing environments and of a programming language (e.g., Perl, Python, Rust, C++, R, etc.).

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 to a maximum of € 3,539 gross per month in the final year (salary scale Dutch Universities), based on a fulltime position (1.0 FTE)
- excluding a 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end of the year bonus.

The positions offered are for four years. Each 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 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 the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School Science and Engineering of the Faculty.

The preferred starting date is May 1, 2024 (but this can be negotiated on a per-candidate basis).

More information on the conditions of employment:

Job Application

Applications for the position should include (as a single PDF file): - cover letter with background and motivation to apply for this position - curriculum vitae, including details of bachelor and master degrees, labwork experience and a publication list if applicable - detailed (1-2 pages) description of previous research experience, such as the bachelor/master research projects - contact details of 2 academic references who can provide information on your suitability for the position. You may apply for this position until 31 March 11:59pm / before 1 April 2024 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the online application form (click on "Apply" below the advertisement on the university website). Interviews for shortlisted candidates will take place in April 2024 in Groningen. 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 Danny Incarnato

In your application, please always include the job opening ID V24.0031

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

Research group Molecular Genetics Research group of Dr Danny Incarnato About the city Groningen

Digital application form