PhD Position in Peptide Chemistry and Organic Synthesis

PhD Position in Peptide Chemistry and Organic Synthesis

Published Deadline Location
16 May 29 May Maastricht

Job description

We offer an exciting opportunity to apply fundamental organic synthesis in addressing current challenges in peptide chemistry. We are seeking a passionate and dedicated organic chemist to develop innovative chemical methodologies that overcome existing limitations in peptide synthesis.

Job Description
Peptides and proteins are essential to life and are fundamental to a wide range of research fields. Despite significant advancements in Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis (SPPS), this method is still limited by the use of organic solvents and protective group requirements, restricting the synthesis of longer peptide chains. The primary responsibility of this PhD student is to develop novel chemical methodologies that facilitate the construction of longer peptide chains in a more sustainable and efficient manner. This involves designing and implementing experimental protocols that are inspired by natural biosynthesis pathways, with the goal of synthesizing extended peptide chains and incorporating non-natural amino acids. This role is dedicated to advancing green chemistry principles, aiming to bridge the traditional methods of peptide synthesis with the innovative, environmentally conscious approaches needed for the future of medicinal chemistry and material science.

The PhD student will be appointed at the Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials (AMIBM) of Maastricht University, located within the Faculty of Science and Engineering. You will be working under the direct supervision of Assistant Professor Jordy Saya, as part of the Biobased Organic Chemistry group. The laboratory facilities are based at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen, The Netherlands.

  • Design and conduct organic reactions based on biosynthesis pathways.
  • Characterize and analyse peptide structures and functionalities.
  • Maintain laboratory equipment to ensure operational efficiency and safety.
  • Collaborate with internal and external research groups.
  • Present findings in academic and industry conferences.
  • Publish research outcomes in high-impact journals.
  • Assist in the supervision of BSc and MSc student projects.

  • MSc degree in Organic Chemistry, Chemical Biology, or a related field;
  • Has skills in organic synthesis and chemical characterization;
  • Experience in peptide synthesis and characterization.
  • Experience with, or a strong willingness to learn, recombinant synthesis of proteins.
  • Experience with, or a strong willingness to learn, computational chemistry techniques.
  • Proficiency in analytical techniques like NMR, Mass Spectrometry, and Chromatography.
  • Strong communication skills, both written and spoken.
  • Demonstrated interest or experience in educational activities.

The Ideal Candidate:
  • Is highly motivated and organized with a profound passion for research and innovation.
  • Possesses excellent analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Is capable of working independently and as part of a diverse team.
  • Manages multiple tasks efficiently and meets deadlines.

What we offer
As PhD Position in Peptide Chemistry and Organic Synthesis
at Faculty of Science & Engineering, you will be employed by the most international university in the Netherlands, located in the beautiful city of Maastricht. In addition, we offer you:
  • Good employment conditions. The position is graded in scale P according to UFO profile PhD, with corresponding salary based on experience ranging from €2770,00 and €3539,00 gross per month (based on a full-time employment of 38 hours per week). In addition to the monthly salary, an 8.0% holiday allowance and an 8.3% year-end bonus apply.
  • An employment contract for a period of 12 months with a scope of 1,0 FTE. Upon a positive evaluation, an extension of 3 years will follow.
  • At Maastricht University, the well-being of our employees is of utmost importance, we offer flexible working hours and the possibility to work partly from home if the nature of your position allows it. You will receive a monthly commuting and internet allowance for this. If you work full-time, you will be entitled to 29 vacation days and 4 additional public holidays per year, namely carnival Monday, carnival Tuesday, Good Friday, and Liberation Day. If you choose to accumulate compensation hours, an additional 12 days will be added. Furthermore, you can personalize your employment conditions through a collective labor agreement (CAO) choice model.
  • As Maastricht University, we offer various other excellent secondary employment conditions. These include a good pension scheme with the ABP and the opportunity for UM employees to participate in company fitness and make use of the extensive sports facilities that we also offer to our students.
  • Last but certainly not least, we provide the space and facilities for your personal and professional development. We facilitate this by offering a wide range of training programs and supporting various well-established initiatives such as 'acknowledge and appreciate'.

The terms of employment at Maastricht University are largely set out in the collective labor agreement of Dutch Universities. In addition, local provisions specific to UM apply. For more information, click here.

Maastricht University
Why work at Maastricht University?

At Maastricht University (UM), everything revolves around the future. The future of our students, as we work to equip them with a solid, broad-based foundation for the rest of their lives. And the future of society, as we seek solutions through our research to issues from all around the world. Our six faculties combined provide a comprehensive package of study programmes and research.

In our teaching, we use the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) method. Students work in small groups, looking for solutions to problems themselves. By discussing issues and working together to draw conclusions, formulate answers and present them to their peers, students develop essential skills for their future careers.

With over 22,300 students and more than 5,000 employees from all over the world, UM is home to a vibrant and inspiring international community.

Are you drawn to an international setting focused on education, science and scholarship? Are you keen to contribute however your skills and qualities allow? Our door is open to you! As a young European university, we value your talent and look forward to creating the future together.

Click here for more information about UM.

Faculty of Science and Engineering
At the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), we focus on themes such as circularity and sustainability, future farming, digitisation and (scientific) instrument development. FSE's leading projects, like the Einstein Telescope Pathfinder, are sure to grab anyone's attention. The faculty is a vibrant hub of education and research in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS). At FSE, over 450 staff members and 3700 students gather to explore e exciting interdisciplinary research and educational programmes. Feel welcome, be part of our team and put your brilliant mind to work!

FSE at the Brightlands Campuses
Maastricht, Sittard-Geleen, Heerlen, and Venlo, the home of four creative Brightlands campuses, are bustling with 30,000 entrepreneurs, researchers, and students working diligently to solve global challenges. The Faculty of Science and Engineering is active on all four Brightlands campuses, and this is where our impact reaches its peak. To give you an idea of what is happening at each campus: Sittard-Geleen is home to the largest chemical site in the Euregion, while Venlo is a large hub for agri-food innovation. Maastricht is the site of the Health Campus, and Heerlen is the place to be for Smart Services.

The Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials (AMIBM) is a department of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) at Maastricht University. AMIBM is a European cross-border research institute established by Maastricht University and RWTH Aachen University focusing on the development of advanced biobased materials. The mission of AMIBM is to replace traditional polymer building blocks with innovative and sustainable alternatives for the development of novel and environmentally-beneficial materials. AMIBM promotes world-class multidisciplinary research in the field of biobased materials, by training PhD students with the multiple skills needed to be future leaders in the field, and creating the research breakthroughs that will enable the utilization of sustainable and renewable materials for advanced materials applications. The multidisciplinary team draws together scientists with expertise in organic chemistry, biocatalysis, lead finding of new biobased blocks, polymer chemistry, polymer physics, polymer engineering, biobased and biomedical materials, tissue engineering, and industrial and medical applications.

Biobased Organic Chemistry Group
At the Biobased Organic Chemistry group, we do fundamental research in organic chemistry using molecules and material that nature provides, the biobased building blocks. Our overall mission is to deliver clean, atom- and step-efficient one-pot syntheses for sustainable production of molecular diverse and structurally complex organic molecules tailored towards higher added-value in materials, medicines and catalysts. Furthermore, we are dedicated to developing new synthetic methodologies that facilitate the construction of peptide chains in a more sustainable manner, particularly those that are inaccessible via traditional solid-phase peptide synthesis (SPPS). Our vision is to employ these innovative chemical protein synthesis tools in the creation of polymeric peptide materials.
More information can be found via

Are you interested in this exciting position but still have questions? Feel free to contact Assistant Professor Jordy Saya at for more information.

Or are you already convinced and ready to become our new PhD candidate? Apply now and submit:
  • Cover letter including your motivation, your relevant experience (referring to the “description of the candidate”, above)
  • CV
  • Names and contact data of two people who could provide a reference
  • Diplomas/degrees including a grade transcript of previous education.

We will recruit until the position is filled. The selection process commences immediately, but will close when a suitable candidate has been found, even if this prior to the final date of the application window. Closing date for this position is 29 May 2024.

The vacancy is open for internal and external candidates. In case of equal qualifications, internal candidates will be prioritized.

Maastricht University is committed to promoting and nurturing a diverse and inclusive community. We believe that diversity in our staff and student population contributes to the quality of research and education at UM, and strive to enable this through inclusive policies and innovative projects led by teams of staff and students. We encourage you to apply for this position.


Maastricht University (UM)


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 974


Maastricht University (UM)

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Paul-Henri Spaaklaan 1, 6229EN, Maastricht

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 29 May 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).