PhD (Medical) Biology or (Bio)Chemistry for research project ‘Effects of smell and taste on oral health’

PhD (Medical) Biology or (Bio)Chemistry for research project ‘Effects of smell and taste on oral health’

Published Deadline Location
5 May 29 May Amsterdam

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FTE: 1,0

Job description

Chronic dry mouth and dry eye complaints are very common among the elderly population and multi-medicated patients (estimated at 10-20 % of the population). Due to the loss of saliva the risk of oral diseases strongly increases. In addition, processes such as talking, swallowing and eating are becoming problematic. Treatments are commonly directed at relieving symptoms by application of artificial saliva or tears, but these only provide short term relief and are not favored by patients because of unnatural taste and consistency.
You will be doing research on the effects of taste and smell on saliva secretion and tear production in volunteers and patients. To analyze the effects on saliva and tear composition you will apply various biochemical techniques in a laboratory environment. You will closely cooperate in a team with a Post-doc and a technician. The project will also involve the cooperation with both academic and industrial partners. The work will contribute to the development of a novel, natural therapy to treat dry mouth and dry eyes.

Your duties
  • recruit volunteers and patients
  • analyze the effects of taste and smell on saliva and tear production
  • laboratory analysis: effects of taste and smell on the composition of saliva, e.g. using various biochemical assays
  • ability to work in a multi-disciplinary, international team.
  • follow (mandatory courses), complete a thesis


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • MSc degree in Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Medical biology, or equivalent
  • experience with, or strong affinity to, laboratory work, e.g. ELISA, enzyme assays and Capillary Electrophoresis
  • a strong interest in carrying out multidisciplinary research in an international environment
  • excellent interpersonal skills to work effectively with team members from different backgrounds
  • Good oral and written communication skills in English

Conditions of employment

The appointment will be full-time (38 hours a week) for a period of four years
(a probationary period of 12 months plus a further 36 months after a positive evaluation). The gross monthly salary will be € 2,443 in the first year and increases to € 3,122 in the fourth year. The collective employment agreement of Dutch universities is applicable.Een uitdagende functie bij de secties Orale Biochemie en Parodontologie van ACTA.

Additionally, ACTA offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 29 days of annual leave based on fulltime employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% endof-year bonus
  • solid life time pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expense


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

ACTA is the collaboration of the Faculties of Dentistry at the University of Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. We focus on all aspects of dentistry: from specialized training to outstanding research and the highest-quality patient care.

Working at ACTA is working on leading international research and training. Currently, ACTA ranked second in the QS World University Rankings. In addition to being an educational and research institution, ACTA also provides healthcare services. You will be working with peers from a variety of disciplines. ACTA has nearly 500 staff members and around 900 students who are taking the Dentistry programme. Around 300 patients visit ACTA every day on average.

Diversity is one of our university's core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.


  • Assistant professor
  • Doctorate
  • 10714


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1105, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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