PhD student in Medical Systems Biology: microbial gut metabolism in action


Carbohydrate Competence Centre

Working Enviroment

The University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG) offers an excellent environment for research and training of scientific skills. The Medical Systems Biology group headed by Prof. B.M. Bakker studies dynamics of metabolism and its regulation in the context of metabolic diseases, cancer, and ageing. The group is co-founder of the Systems Biology Centre for Energy Metabolism and Ageing (SBS-EMA) and collaborates closely with clinicians. SBC-EMA has excellent facilities for multi-omics studies, including quantitative metabolomics and proteomics, as well as for computational modelling of metabolic processes. The PhD student will be trained locally in the Graduate School of Medical Sciences and nationally in the Netherlands Bioinformatics and Systems Biology research school (BioSB).

Job description

Stable-isotope tracers offer an excellent way to monitor metabolism in living organisms. Recent advances in mass spectrometry and chemometrics, as well as in computational modelling of the data, give us an unprecedented view on metabolism in action. We aim to apply this technology to get insight in microbial metabolism in the gut of obese individuals. We will make use of a new medical delivery/sampling device (IntelliCap®) to deliver 13C-labelled metabolites in the intestine during interventions with fermentable fibres. Subsequently, we will monitor the metabolic fate of the 13C-labelled metabolites, as well as their impact on microbiome, transcriptome, and hormones as a function of time. The project is a collaboration with the University of Wageningen (Dr. ir. G. Hooiveld) where the human interventions will be carried out. The PhD student at UMCG will be responsible for optimization and application of 13C-based metabolomics of the intestinal samples and systems biology approaches to integrate the various data types. The project is part of the Carbohydrate Competence Centre.


We are searching for an excellent, highly motivated candidate with an affinity to the experimental as well as theoretical aspects of the project. He/she should have an MSc degree in a relevant discipline (analytical biochemistry, systems biology, computational biology, pharmacology, etc.). The candidate is expected to communicate efficiently in an interdisciplinary team of academic and private partners, consisting of chemists, biologists, clinicians, and computational experts.

The UMCG has a preventive Hepatitis B policy. You may be required to build up sufficient protection against Hepatitis B before you can be appointed. Vaccination is provided by the UMCG if necessary.

Conditions of employment

The appointment will be to a temporary position for four years on a full-time basis (36 hours/week)

The UMCG offers a salary of € 2.244,- gross per month in the first year, rising to a maximum of € 2.874,- in the fourth year. In addition, the UMCG will offer you 8% holiday pay, an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and a development budget. The terms of employment comply with the Collective Labour Agreement for Medical Centers (CAO-UMC).

Additional information
For more information, please contact Prof. Barbara Bakker, +31 50 3611542, email: (please do not use for applications)

Additional information

Extra information can be obtained thru the following links:
Centre for Systems Biology
Welcome to Groningen
UMCG Corporate information/research

Applying for a job

Please use the the digital application form at the bottom of this page - only these will be processed. You can apply until 30 October 2016. Immediately after sending the digital application form you will receive an email- confirmation with further information.

Digital application form