PhD Candidate in Early Detection of Poultry Disease

PhD Candidate in Early Detection of Poultry Disease

Published Deadline Location
16 Nov 13 Mar Nijmegen

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Job description

Do you want to make a significant impact by preventing Infections in poultry? Then you have a part to play! As a PhD candidate, you will be part of the group at the Life Science Trace Detection Laboratory of Radboud University. The work is within the NWA-ORC OBSeRVeD project on the early detection of poultry disease using chemical profiling.

Infections in poultry are accompanied by the emission of specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as confirmed by veterinarians who can smell the presence of disease in a stable. Currently, many infections are not discovered until after widescale spread within or between flocks. At a late stage of detection, when most of the damage has already been done, it is also too late for preventive interventions, so that more rigorous treatments of entire flocks with antibiotics or chemicals are required. These treatments can induce antibiotic resistance and leave residues in poultry products and the environment impacting both animal and human health. Hence, there is a need to identify poultry disease at an early stage to reduce the use of antibiotics and financial loss for farmers and society. Within the NWA-ORC project OBSeRVeD, you will be working in a multidisciplinary team using state-of-the-art mass spectrometry instrumentation and multivariate analysis strategies to identify the VOCs fingerprint of the targeted poultry diseases. This information will serve other partners in the project to develop a selective and sensitive system (i.e. e-nose) to detect the presence of the targeted poultry diseases. Your teaching load may be up to 10% of your working time.

Your role and responsibilities will include, but are not limited to, the development and implementation of VOCs sampling strategies using various samples (air, faeces, swabs, litter) at research facilities and poultry farms; the design of experiments to identify disease-specific VOCs; the analysis of collected VOCs samples by mass spectrometry (TD-GC-MS, PTR-ToF-MS) data processing; the identification of VOC signatures of poultry disease through multivariate analysis / chemometric models; and the validation of eNose output with golden standard instrumentation. You will work within an interdisciplinary team of university and industrial partners.


Radboud University


  • You should hold a Master's degree in a relevant field such as biochemistry or analytical chemistry.
  • You have good knowledge and preferably experience with mass spectrometry.
  • Experience in mass spectrometry data processing and data analysis is an advantage.
  • Knowledge of a programming language (e.g. MATLAB, R, or Python) is also an advantage.
  • You have excellent English language skills. Fluency in English and basic oral expression skills in Dutch are desirable for communication with project partners.
  • You will work independently and with other PhD candidates and researchers within the project.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract) or 3.5 years (5 year contract).

  • It concerns an employment for 0.8 (5 year contract) - 1.0 FTE (4 year contract).
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,541 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,247 from the fourth year onwards (salary scale P).
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract) or 3.5 years (5 year contract).
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 29 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.
Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.


The Life Science Trace Detection Laboratory is part of the Department of Analytical Chemistry and Chemometrics at the Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM), Faculty of Science. We focus on real-time monitoring of volatile compounds relevant to various fields, such as biomarkers in exhaled breath of humans, environmental monitoring, or fruit storage. For this, we are developing and using laser-based spectroscopy systems for targeted volatile compounds and applying mass spectrometry for both targeted and untargeted compounds. The project will offer opportunities to work with a broad network across a wide variety of technologies, thereby providing a broad interdisciplinary experience within a collaborative academic, governmental and commercial environment.

IMM is an interdisciplinary research institute in chemistry and physics at the Faculty of Science (FNWI) of Radboud University. IMM focuses on fundamental research to understand, design and control the functioning of molecules and materials. You will have the opportunity to interact with researchers at IMM and participate in institute-wide activities to enhance your own research and contribute to that of your peers.

Radboud University

We want to get the best out of science, others and ourselves. Why? Because this is what the world around us desperately needs. Leading research and education make an indispensable contribution to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This is what unites the more than 24,000 students and 5,600 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1200186



Houtlaan 4, 6525 XZ, Nijmegen

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