PhD position: Understanding pan-fungicide resistance in the airborne human fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus

PhD position: Understanding pan-fungicide resistance in the airborne human fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus

Published Deadline Location
22 May 23 Jun Wageningen

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Job description

Are you interested in genetics and understanding how resistance to environmental chemicals can affect reproductive barriers? Are you excited about using CRISPR-Cas9 and state-of-the-art molecular biology in fungi? Do you want to pursue a PhD? Then we have an excellent opportunity for you in Wageningen, The Netherlands!

Aspergillus fumigatus is a human pathogenic fungus causing serious life-threatening diseases. Antifungal resistance against the azole class is rapidly spreading on a global scale and hampering effective treatment of patients. A. fumigatus isolates from patients have not only acquired azole resistance but also resistance to other agricultural fungicides. Recent analysis shows that multiple genes are involved in this pan-fungicide resistance, and these variants may have unforeseen impact on various aspects of the biology of this fungus.

As a PhD candidate you will be employed in the recently funded NWO ENW M1 project “Reaching far and wide: understanding pan-fungicide resistance in the airborne human fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus” (the full application is available by e-mailing to
You will have the opportunity to:
  • Gain a deep understanding of the complex pan-fungicide resistance in A. fumigatus and characterize the causal genes by using CRISPR Cas9 and sexual crossing experiments.
  • Implement and validate a wax moth model to study the fitness cost and compensatory mutations associated with antifungal resistance.
  • Utilize genomic data to investigate the consequences of agricultural pan-fungicide-resistant A. fumigatus on the population structure of this fungus.


Wageningen University & Research


We are seeking candidates who possess:
  • A strong interest in genetics and working with fungi.
  • Innovativeness and eagerness to use new techniques and models.
  • Enjoy working in an international environment and a multidisciplinary team.
  • Proficient writing and oral communication skills in English.

Additionally, you should have:
  • Successfully completed a MSc degree in Biology, Microbiology, Biotechnology or related field.
  • Basic bioinformatics skills or the motivation to acquire them.
  • Meet the entry requirements of the WUR PhD programme.

For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognized Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here.

Conditions of employment

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.541,- per month rising to € 3.247,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “ Best University ” in the Netherlands for the 18th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.
Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling. For instance under the "30% rule", certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.


Wageningen University & Research

Wageningen University & Research
The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 7,200 employees (6,400 fte) and 13,200 students and over 150.000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

You will work here
The research is embedded within the Laboratory of Genetics that investigates causes and consequences of natural genetic variation within species. Since genetic variation plays an essential role in ecological and evolutionary processes, we ask ecologically and evolutionarily motivated research questions. We use a wide array of model organisms, ranging from bacteria, fungi, plants and insects. Your supervisory team consists of Dr. Eveline Snelders (assistant professor), dr. Ben Auxier (assistant professor) and dr. Duur Aanen (full professor).

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • P1233165-1


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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