PhD position MetaHealth

PhD position MetaHealth

Published Deadline Location
8 May 30 Jun Amsterdam
PhD Opportunity: Exploring Host-Oral Microbiome Interactions in Early Life Through 3D Organotypic Models

Job description

This PhD project is supported by the NWA program METAHEALTH, which focuses on oral and metabolic health in the first 1000 days of life. The PhD candidate will collaborate closely with fellow PhD students studying social behaviour, mathematical modeling and gut microbiome modelling in METAHEALTH.

The aim of this PhD project is to delve into the mechanisms underlying the establishment of a healthy host-oral microbiome balance in early life- a balance known to confer lifelong healthy benefits. Through cutting-edge techniques and the utilization of a state-of-art 3D organotypic model, the PhD candidate will have the unique opportunity to unravel the complexity of this dynamic process in a controlled manner.

Your duties
Your responsibilities are 1. improving the existing 3D reconstructed human gingiva model in order to better mimic the microbial exposure infants encounter in their oral cavity; 2. exploring various factors influencing the host-microbiome interactions, including the impact of diet components and immune factors, with the improved model. Through comprehensive phenotypic and functional analyses you will elucidate the host responses crucial for maintaining tolerance and fostering homeostatic interactions with oral microbes.

You will be situated within the Department of Preventive Dentistry, with a focus on microbiological aspects of dental research. The department comprises researchers experienced in various fields: clinical dentistry, molecular biology, microbiology, microbial ecology and bioinformatics and regularly hosts international PhD students. This fostering a supportive and intellectually stimulating working environment.

The PhD candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of ACTA, University of Amsterdam and supervised by Prof. dr. Bastiaan Krom, dr. Dongmei Deng and dr. Lin Shang.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • You should hold a Master’s degree or equivalent in Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Immunology, Biomedical Sciences, or closely related fields. Candidates nearing completion of their Master degree are eligible to apply.
  • You are available to start between November 1st 2024 and January 1st 2025.
  • Preference will be given to candidates with laboratory proficiency in standard microbial techniques, mammalian cell culturing and/or organoids culturing.
  • The ideal candidate will demonstrate a strong motivation, exceptional curiosity, problem-solving, teamwork skills and the capacity to working independently.
  • Proficiency in English, along with excellent academic presentation and writing skills, is essential.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year.

A challenging position in a socially engaged organisation. At ACTA, you contribute to education, research and service for a better world. And that is valuable. So in return for your efforts, we offer you:
  • a salary of € 2.770,00 (PhD) and maximum € 3.539,00 (PhD) gross per month in the fourth year, for a full-time employment
  • A temporary contract for 38 hours per week, initially for one year, followed by a performance evaluation. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended for an additional 3 years.

We also offer you attractive fringe benefits and arrangements. Some examples:
  • A full-time 38-hour working week comes with a holiday leave entitlement of 232 hours per year. If you choose to work 40 hours, you have 96 extra holiday leave hours on an annual basis. For part-timers, this is calculated pro rata.
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

ACTA is the collaboration between the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Amsterdam and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. ACTA conducts scientific research, provides education, and offers patient care in the field of dentistry. Internationally, ACTA is a leader in research and education. Approximately 500 employees work at ACTA, and about 900 students are enrolled in the Dentistry program. Every day, around 600 patients receive dental care.

Diversity is a core value of VU Amsterdam. We advocate for an inclusive community and believe that diversity and internationalization enhance the quality of education and research. Therefore, we are constantly seeking individuals whose backgrounds and experiences contribute to the diversity of our campus.

Additional information

Are you interested in this position and do you believe that your experience will contribute to the further development of our university? In that case, we encourage you to submit your application.

Submitting a diploma and a reference check are part of the application process.

Do you have questions about this vacancy? Please contact: dr. Ling Shang,, dr. Dongmei Deng,

Applications received by e-mail will not be considered.

Acquisition in response to this advertisement is not appreciated.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 4035


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

Learn more about this employer


Gustav Mahlerlaan 3004, 1081LA, Amsterdam

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 30 Jun 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).