PhD candidate on novel antimicrobials for bacterial airway infections

PhD candidate on novel antimicrobials for bacterial airway infections

Published Deadline Location
2 May 17 May Rotterdam

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Job description

We offer a 4-year PhD position to test a new generation of antibiotics as a treatment for respiratory tract infections. This project is funded by ZonMw OPEN and unites the expertise of 4 academic research groups: Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Erasmus MC, Pharmacology University Utrecht; Microbiology University Utrecht and Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery- University Utrecht).

Effective treatment of bacterial infections is threatened by increasing rates of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance often results in delayed adequate treatment, increasing morbidity and mortality. Streptococcus pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus are frequent causes of respiratory infections, and known for increasing (multiple)resistance rates. Evidently, alternative treatments are warranted. We previously obtained evidence that certain compounds exert antimicrobial activity against respiratory bacteria. However, knowledge on the mechanism(s) of action and effects on host responses is currently lacking yet essential to makethese compounds successful antibacterials. The objective of this research project is to provide an alternative treatment strategy strategy for S. pneumonia and P. aeruginosa -related infections.

You will test the effectivity of these compounds as treatment of S.pneumoniae and P.aeruginosa infections both ex-vivo, using lung organoids or primary macrophages; as well as in-vivo, using mouse models for bacterial pulmonary infection (including luciferase-based in vivo imaging techniques) and assess optimal treatment regimens. Read-outs and used techniques include bacterial growth; bioluminescence; (primary) cell culture; flow cytometry; multiplex cytokine analyses; diverse microscopy technologies in combination with immunofluorescence staining.

This project will unravel whether our target compounds, as stand-alone or antibiotic adjuvant therapy, qualify as a sustained treatment option for bacterial infections in humans but may also be applicable to the veterinary and agriculture field.


Erasmus MC (University Medical Center Rotterdam)


We seek a driven life science candidate with a keen focus on immunology and host-pathogen interactions. The ideal candidate is goal-driven, meticulously organized, proactive, dependable, and adaptable.

Specific qualifications:
  • Applicants should have/expect to receive, a Master’s degree or equivalent in Biomedical Sciences, Biomolecular Life Sciences, Biology or related disciplines.
  • Besides strong intrinsic motivation for doing science, emphasis will be on natural curiosity, creative thinking, and the ability to work independently as well as part of a team.
  • Experience in cell culture, bacterialflow cytometry, and analyzing large datasets.
  • Affinity with or interest in working in an interdisciplinary environment is important.
  • Possession of (or willing to obtain) Art 9/Felasa B certificate for animal experimentation.

Conditions of employment

  • You will receive a temporary position for 4 years.
  • The gross monthly salary is € 3017,- in the 1st year and increases to € 3824,- in the 4th year (scale OIO), based on a 36 hour workweek.
  • Excellent fringe benefits, such as a 13th month that is already paid out in November and an individual travel expense package.
  • Pension insurance with ABP, we take care of approximately 2/3 of the monthly contribution.
  • Special benefits, such as an incompany physiotherapist and bicycle repairservice.There is also a gym where you can work on your fitness after work.
  • An international office which aids you in preparing for you arrival and stay


Erasmus MC

A challenging position within the largest University Medical Center (UMC) in the Netherlands with high ambitions in the areas of care, education and research. The successful applicant will be based at the Laboratory of Pediatrics, Erasmus University Medical Center (Erasmus MC), and work in the team of Dr. Wendy Unger (Laboratory of Pediatrics) and in close collaboration with the Pharmacology group of the Utrecht University (Dr. Saskia Braber), the Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery group of University Utrecht (Prof. Roland Pieters) and the Veterinary Faculty of the Utrecht University (Dr. Marc Wösten).

As a research laboratory, the Pediatrics Laboratory is directly affiliated with the Sophia Children's Hospital. Our research focuses on studying disease in the developing child with a special focus on infection and the response of the developing immune system. There is a strong interaction with various clinical departments in the hospital, such as the departments of Pediatric Pulmonology, Pediatric Infectious Diseases/Immunology and Medical Microbiology, which allows discoveries from research to be quickly translated into practice but also vice versa to generate clinically relevant questions for new research goals.


  • PhD
  • Health
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • €3017—€3824 per month
  • University graduate
  • 18.19.24.TS-P1509491-1


Erasmus MC (University Medical Center Rotterdam)

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Dr. Molewaterplein 40, 3015 GD, Rotterdam

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