PhD Candidate in Microbial Physiology

PhD Candidate in Microbial Physiology

Published Deadline Location
23 Feb 26 Mar Nijmegen

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Job description

Are you fascinated by microbiology and how microbes can be used to combat climate change? We are seeking a PhD candidate interested in the microbial physiology of anaerobic methanotrophic archaea and their capacity to turn the greenhouse gas methane into electricity. Join us in this exciting project to explore these fascinating microorganisms!

Microorganisms are key drivers in the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. Anaerobic methanotrophic archaea form a biological filter in aquatic environments, limiting the amount of methane emitted into the atmosphere. Their unique capabilities offer promising applications in biotechnology, enabling the mitigation of methane emissions from municipal and industrial waste streams. Recently, we have discovered that they can turn methane into electricity when they are cultivated on electrodes.

In this PhD project, you will investigate the microbial physiology of anaerobic methanotrophic archaea cultivated on bio-electrodes. You will discover which enzymes are involved in the electricity production and how these archaea interact with other community members. Furthermore, you will cultivate novel methanotrophs on bio-electrodes to describe their electrochemical and physiological properties. During this project, you will join a dynamic and diverse research team within the Department of Microbiology at the Radboud Institute for Biological and Environmental Sciences (RIBES). Throughout this project, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with experts across various scientific domains and contribute up to 10% of your working time to teaching responsibilities.

For further information, please read our recent paper by Ouboter et al., 2024 (Nature Communications)

This PhD project is part of the NWO-VIDI project ’Biogas to Bioenergy’.


Radboud University


  • You have an MSc degree in life sciences (biology, microbiology, biotechnology, or a related area) with a focus on microbiology.
  • You are proficient in English, both written and spoken.
  • You have the mindset required to develop into an independent scientist (growth mindset).
  • Knowledge of basic microbiological methods is essential.
  • Experience in anaerobic microbiology or with bioreactor techniques is considered an advantage.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract).

  • It concerns an employment for 1.0 FTE.
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,541 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,247 in the fourth year onwards (salary scale P).
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract).
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.
Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.


The Radboud Institute for Biological and Environmental Sciences (RIBES) aims to perform world-leading research to understand the response of the natural environment to human impact. Researchers within RIBES are working on the overarching research mission “Towards Healthy Ecosystems”, with four focus areas: I. Macronutrients and chemicals of emerging concern, II. Physical conditions: understanding responses and adaptation mechanism to stressors, III. Biodiversity decline and recovery of ecological communities, and IV. Mitigation of greenhouse gasses. With this knowledge, RIBES contributes to mitigating ecosystem degradation and finding solutions to restore the natural environment. Research at RIBES encompasses three major groups of organisms – microorganisms, plants, and animals – and spans nearly all levels of biological organization. The institute is organized in four departments: Ecology, Physiology, Environmental Science, and Microbiology.

The Microbiology department comprises an enthusiastic and devoted team of scholars that closely collaborate in a flat organizational structure. Harmonious and productive collaboration and synergy are key to our success. At our Faculty, Institute, and Department, we have state-of-the-art equipment for sequencing and data analysis, light and electron microscopy, a large bioreactor facility as well as infrastructure for anaerobic microbiology, and facilities for biochemical, molecular, and physiological work. Our mission is to conduct research at the forefront of microbial ecology and physiology with the main aim of understanding the diversity of microorganisms responsible for the biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen and carbon (methane). In close collaboration with other RIBES groups and external partners, we pay special attention to host-microbe interactions. In addition, in close collaboration with stakeholders and (industrial) partners, we collaborate on the development of microbial applications in sustainable drinking water production and wastewater treatment systems to remove nitrogen, methane, and micropollutants. We focus on four research themes: 1. Nitrogen cycle microbiology, 2. Carbon/methane cycle microbiology, 3. Host-microbe interactions, and 4. Bioremediation. We collaborate on these four themes with our expertise in metabolomics, cell biology and biochemistry, environmental microbiology, biotechnology, microbial physiology, and bioinformatics.

Radboud University

At Radboud University, we aim to make an impact through our work. We achieve this by conducting groundbreaking research, providing high-quality education, offering excellent support, and fostering collaborations within and outside the university. In doing so, we contribute indispensably to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. To accomplish this, we need even more colleagues who, based on their expertise, are willing to search for answers. We advocate for an inclusive community and welcome employees with diverse backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. Will you also contribute to making the world a little better? You have a part to play.
If you want to learn more about working at Radboud University, follow our Instagram account and read stories from our colleagues.


  • PhD; Research, development, innovation; Education
  • Natural sciences
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1218322



Houtlaan 4, 6525 XZ, Nijmegen

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