PhD Position in Biology

Ghent University Department of Biology

PhD Student in Biology

Last application date:Jul 15, 2020 23:59

Department:WE11 - Department of Biology

Employment category:Doctoral fellow

Contract:Limited duration

Degree:Master’s degree in Sciences: Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Chemistry, Bioscience Engineering

Occupancy rate:100%

Vacancy Type:Research staff

Job description

The Laboratory of Phycology (Ghent University – Prof. Olivier De Clerck) invites applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship for research into development of brown algal zygotes and spores and phenotypic plasticity of attachment. The student will (i) use comparative metabolomics and bioassay-guided isolation to study the influence of exometabolites on asymmetric cell division and adhesion in brown algal model species (Dictyota, Fucus, Saccharina); (ii) study density-dependent adhesion and potential applications in aquaculture; (iii) initiate high-throughput chemical screening of small molecules to Dictyota zygotes to identify compounds that interfere with or promote cell polarisation and adhesion.

We offer an intellectually challenging environment, high-quality training to develop hard and soft skills, opportunities to participate in field work, research stays in marine laboratories and international scientific conferences, and a competitive salary including a bicycle commuting reimbursement. Ghent University is among the top global universities according to several international rankings. Furthermore, Ghent is a charming medieval Flemish town, filled with canals, and full of energy, history, and culture.

The job duties include:

  •  Algal culture and polarisation studies combined with field sampling
  •  Bioassay-guided fractionation and metabolomic analyses
  •  Optimalisation of a protocol for high-throughput small molecule screening for algal propagules
  •  Writing of scientific publications and contributing to project proposal writing.
  •  Supervising bachelor and MSc students during projects and practical courses.

What we can offer you?

We offer an initial contract of 1 year, which can be extended with another three years after positive evaluation.

Your appointment will start by October 1st at the earliest.

You will receive a PhD scholarship according to the general conditions at Ghent University ( The tax free scholarship includes full social security coverage. More information about this can be found on the Ghent University website.

You will work in a dynamic, international research group. All Ghent University staff members enjoy a number of benefits, such as 37 days of paid leave, a wide range of training and education opportunities, bicycle commuting reimbursement, etc.

A complete overview of all our fringe benefits can be found on the UGent website.

Profile of the candidate

  • You hold a Master’s degree in Sciences: Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Chemistry, Bioscience Engineering. Holders of a PhD degree cannot apply.
  • You obtained excellent grades in your bachelor and MSc degree (i.e., you belong to the top 10% of your cohort).
  • You have practical experience or affinity for chemistry and/or developmental biology.
  • You have good communication and writing skills and have an excellent knowledge of written and spoken English.
  • You are self-critical, you work with rigor and attention for detail, and you work accurately in the wet lab.
  • You combine being a team player with a strong sense of autonomy and responsibility.
  • You are willing to participate in short research stays abroad and apply for additional funding when eligible.

How to apply

All applications must be received no later than July 15 at with the following documents attached as a single file:

  • application letter
  • curriculum vitae
  • a transcript of the required degree
  • names and contact details of at least two reference persons

Attention: Late applications are not accepted. As Ghent University maintains an equal opportunities and diversity policy, everyone is encouraged to apply for this position.

For more information about this vacancy please contact Dr. Kenny Bogaert (, +32 9 264 85 02) or Prof. Olivier De Clerck (, +329 264 85 00).