PhD candidate on developing artificial metalloenzymes for sustainable biotech

PhD candidate on developing artificial metalloenzymes for sustainable biotech

Published Deadline Location
13 Nov 4 Dec Wageningen

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Job description

This PhD project in chemistry pursues curiosity-driven interdisciplinary research combining inorganic chemistry and single-molecule biophysics. In short, you will develop synthetic metal coordination complexes and incorporate them into proteins to yield artificial metalloenzymes with engineered functionalities. Specific techniques you will learn and use include chemical synthesis, state-of-the-art spectroscopy, protein biochemistry incl. genetic code expansion, and single-molecule nanopore technology. You will be part of two complementary teams: the BioNanoTechnology research group at WUR and the Schmid lab at Basel University. Hence, beyond the main work place at WUR, the doctorate includes paid research stay(s) at the University of Basel, Switzerland (~1 year). You will be supervised by Dr. Namita Sharma and Dr. Sonja Schmid and Prof. Aldrik Velders will be the promotors of this thesis research.

We, the BioNanoTechnology (BNT), have an open PhD candidate position available in the research domain of artificial metalloenzymes for sustainable biotech. Your role will be to strengthen and establish promising collaborative research lines between BNT at Wageningen University and Research (WUR) and Prof. Schmid’s group at Basel University, Switzerland. This position offers extensive supervision and scientific freedom while you will be part of a team of experienced and ambitious PhD candidates striving for scientific excellence within the stated science domain.


Wageningen University & Research


  • a successfully completed MSc degree in: Chemistry or Biochemistry and still background in proteins and enzymatic reactions is a plus; or a Science degree with a strong component of any of the disciplines above;
  • experimental experience and fundamental knowledge of chemistry, in particular in the areas of coordination chemistry, synthesis, bioinorganic chemistry, protein biochemistry, basic spectroscopic techniques and related data analysis;
  • experience in protein production and functionalization and single-molecule nanopore recordings and analysis is an additional benefit
  • strong (spoken and written) communication skills;
  • a proactive, structured, and reliable work style;
  • a creative problem-solving approach to experimental challenges

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:
  • 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 € 2.770 - per month rising to € 3.539,- 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

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, 7,600 employees (6,700 fte) and 13,100 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!

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
  • P1366431-1


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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