PhD candidate on Early-life Microbiome, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, NUTRIM - Department of Medical Microbiology

PhD candidate on Early-life Microbiome, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, NUTRIM - Department of Medical Microbiology

Published Deadline Location
20 Apr 9 May Maastricht

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Ever wondered why we all develop our own microbiomes and how this affects our health? Fancy exploring multi-omics data from large-scale infant cohorts and conducting mechanistic studies to unravel host-microbe-diet interactions?

Job description

We are recruiting a PhD student to study Host-Microbiome-Diet interactions in early life.

Newborns transit from an environmentally protected and sterile situation in utero to microbial and environmental exposure after birth on their way to establish a stable host-microbial homeostasis. Within our research group, and in close collaboration with our partners in our Euregional Microbiome Center (, we aim to understand the natural process of the maturation of the microbiota and the impact of host and dietary factors in this process. In addition, the role of microbial perturbations in the onset of non-communicable diseases and the susceptibility to infections are main topics within this research line.

As PhD student you will be part of an exciting research program in the ‘Microbiome’ group headed by Associate Prof. John Penders ( in which epidemiological birth cohorts, in vitro models and murine in vivo models are combined. You will be working in an innovative and scientifically stimulating environment. Being embedded within our research school NUTRIM (Nutritional & Translational Research in Metabolism) and the Euregional Microbiome Center you will have unique training opportunities. You will be trained and supervised in cutting edge technologies (e.g., fluorescent bacterial sorting, whole metagenome sequencing, metaproteomics, single-cell RNA-Seq, computational biology and metagenomic epidemiology). You will present your research work at leading international conferences.

A double/joint PhD degree with one of the Euregional Microbiome Center partner institutes belongs to the possibilities.


Maastricht University (UM)


We are looking for a talented and ambitious PhD candidate with initiative, motivation and endurance. You are keen to invest in the growth of both yourself and our team. You should have:

  • a MSc degree (or equivalent) in a relevant Life Science discipline: (medical) biology, microbiology, systems biology, biomedical sciences.
  • Strong interest in (molecular) microbiology and the developmental origins of health and disease (DoHaD).
  • Experience in microbiota or other -omics data-analyses using statistical computing software such as R
  • Previous experience with systems biology is an advantage.
  • Previous experience with in vivo/vitro models is an advantage.
  • Excellent communication skills in English.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1+3 years.

Temporary employment for 4 years. The first year will be a probation period, after a positive assessment the position will be extended for another 3 years, which happens in the vast majority of cases.

Your salary would be € 2.443,- gross per month in the first year up to € 3.122,- gross per month in the fourth year according to the PhD-candidate salary scale. An 8% holiday and an 8.3% year-end allowance is also provided. Each year an evaluation will take place.

The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website > About UM > Working at UM.


Maastricht University

Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 22,000 students and 5,000 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.
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Department of Medical Microbiology

The Department of Medical Microbiology has a strong focus on clinical diagnostics and scientific research in the fields of infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance, molecular typing and the human microbiome. You will be part of the microbiome research group, an international group of PI’s, post-doctoral fellows, PhD students and research technicians.

Our research group has strong links with clinical departments (e.g., gastroenterology, pulmonology and pediatrics) within the Maastricht UMC+ as well as many (inter)national collaborations with academic and industrial partners within the context of multiple (inter)national consortia, including the Top Institute Food and Nutrition (TIFN), NWO-Carbohydrate Competence Center, Joint Programme Initiatives HDHL Intestinal Microbiomics and Million Microbiomes of Humans Projec. The lab has on-site automated sample processing as well as next-generation sequencing facilities.


  • PhD
  • Health
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2443—€3122 per month
  • University graduate
  • AT2022.158


Maastricht University (UM)

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P. Debyelaan 25, 6229 HX, Maastricht

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