PhD position in Gut microbiome-derived extracellular vesicles: role in gut health

PhD position in Gut microbiome-derived extracellular vesicles: role in gut health

Published Deadline Location
7 Sep 30 Sep Wageningen

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Job description

Are you intrigued by the intricate connection between gut health and overall well-being? Do you have a burning curiosity to unravel the mysteries of bacterial extracellular vesicles and their potential impact on gut health, particularly in the context of cancer treatment and food safety? This PhD position might be your next big step.

For this project at Wageningen University, you will pursue a PhD as a fully funded PhD candidate and contribute to understanding the roles of gut microbiome-derived extracellular vesicles in gut health.
In recent years, it is becoming clear that the nanostructures produced by bacteria, namely extracellular vesicles, are functional entities in the interactions between bacteria and the human host. As the important role of the gut microbiota in human health and diseases is still being reinforced with growing evidence, further elucidation of gut microbiome-derived extracellular vesicles as functional factors is an important step. One population that is of specific interest in this context refers to individuals diagnosed with cancer, as these patients usually have an altered gut microbiota because of their disease and treatment.

What will you do?
You will be examining the composition of gut microbiome-derived extracellular vesicles from healthy and diseased individuals and reveal the roles of the bacterial extracellular vesicles in gut health and toxicity.
Your tasks include:
  • refining the isolation and purification methods to obtain gut microbiome-derived extracellular vesicles;
  • optimizing relevant model systems to study the impact on gut health and toxicity upon exposure to bacterial extracellular vesicles;
  • comparing bacterial extracellular vesicle compositions from healthy and diseased individuals, and examining their respective implications on gut health parameters in in vitro model systems;
  • assessing the potential modulation of bacterial extracellular vesicle profiles through exposure to dietary fibers or foodborne chemical contaminants, and vice versa, and subsequent effects on gut health parameters in vitro.


Wageningen University & Research


You are versatile, motivated, proactive, and take ownership of the project. You are enthusiastic and capable of working in a multidisciplinary team, have broad interest and are open to learning new techniques and skills. You are determined, persevering and efficient in implementation of tasks.

You also possess the following:
  • a successfully completed MSc degree before the start of this job (Jan 2024), in the areas of microbiology, molecular biology/biotechnology, biomedicine, nutrition, toxicology or other related disciplines;
  • experience of working in the laboratory is essential. Basic knowledge and skills in cell/tissue culture, analytical chemistry and molecular techniques are particularly helpful;
  • basic knowledge on bioinformatics and statistics is important;
  • excellent writing and oral communication skills in English.

For this position, your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognised 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 € 2.770,- 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 after a succesful evaluation.

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, 7,200 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.

You will work here:
Your position will be on the Wageningen University campus. You will be embedded mainly in the chair group Food Microbiology, but also with frequent contact and interaction with Division of Human Nutrition and Health and Wageningen Food Safety Research. You will be co-supervised by Eddy Smid, Yue Liu, Dieuwertje Kok and Katja van Dongen.

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
  • Health
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • P1312495-1


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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