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Postdoc bacterial defense systems in phage therapy

The department of medical microbiology is looking for a postdoc to study the molecular mechanisms of bacterial phage defense systems and their relevance in the context of phage therapy.

Dit ga je doen
Phage therapy is a promising alternative for antibiotics in treating multi-resistant bacterial infections. Bacteria evolved defense systems to overcome bacteriophage killing. This limits phage host range and complicates routine therapeutic application of bacteriophages. In turn, bacteriophages have evolved counter defense systems to overcome bacterial defenses and can adapt to prevent defense recognition. In this project we aim to identify the most relevant defense and counter defense mechanisms in clinical strains and phages of the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We will use this knowledge to adapt phages in order to broaden their host range.

The project is a collaboration between UMC-Utrecht and TU-Delft (Department of Bionanoscience). Focus of TU-Delft will be on (counter) defense mechanisms while UMC-Utrecht will focus on interaction with P. aeruginosa and adaptations needed to overcome phage defense systems. We aim at translating the results of this project to the clinical practice.

As a key member of the project team, which includes a dedicated technician and external collaborators you will be responsible for the progression of the project at the UMC-Utrecht. You will perform molecular and cellular microbiology techniques aimed at adapting bacterial strains and bacteriophages. You will be involved in the supervision of master or PhD students, in teaching and in the preparation of publications. The position is for the duration of 2 years.

Hier ga je werken
UMC-Utrecht is one of the top ranked academic medical centers in Europe. The UMCU (10,000 employees) and Utrecht University (30,000 students) are located within one campus. The UMC-Utrecht has a delegated responsibility for education in health care, medicine and biomedical sciences, and for medical research in synergy with the Utrecht University (UU), which ranks 6th on listings of top EU research facilities. The Department of Medical Microbiology is embedded in UMC’s research program Infection and Immunity. This research program consists of 30 research groups and 180 PhD students. The position is based within the research team of dr. Pieter-Jan Haas, which focuses on bacteriophages and their use in anti-infective therapies. The team is well embedded in the research groups at the department, which provides an stimulating and highly collaborative research environment that studies microbiology with an emphasis host-pathogen interaction and translation to clinical practice. The department has access to multiple core facilities that are useful for the project, e.g. flowcytometry, microscopy, secquencing and computational facilities.

Dit neem je mee
The successful candidate should hold a PhD and strong knowledge in one or more of the following: molecular microbiology, bacteriology, microbial physiology, phage biology or biochemistry. Experience with bacteriophages is not a specific prerequisite. Candidate should have a track record of creativity in developing experimental strategies. Must be self-motivated and capable to work in autonomy, but also able to collaborate with other scientists in our team. Evidence of scientific accomplishment via peer-reviewed publications is required. Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English are essential. Candidates will be stimulated to write personal grants.


Pieter-Jan Haas
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