The Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences (FALW) offers a range of Bachelor and Master programmes. Research at the faculty focuses on the fields of the life sciences, health sciences, environmental sciences and earth sciences. World-class teaching and cutting-edge research activities go hand in hand. FALW works together with other faculties like medicine, exact sciences, economics, psychology and social sciences. The faculty’s research facilities can be categorized as excellent. The faculty’s international focus fosters cross-border collaboration, leading to substantially improved quality and greater impact of our research results. The sections Systems Bioinformatics and Molecular Cell Physiology of the Molecular Cell Biology Department (FALW, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands) focus on microbial systems biology. The emergence of cell behaviour from dynamic molecular networks is being studied. Principles deriving from biology, physics, and mathematics are used in parallel with laboratory experiments.The research to be carried out by the appointed PhD student involves laboratory evolution studies of microorganisms and the development of mathematical models. Microorganisms will be cultivated for months in constant or dynamic environments. During the evolutionary process, individual bacterial cells will be analysed for their physiological behaviour, cell-to-cell variability and fitness. Genome-sequencing and further molecular characterization will allow for the detailed study of evolutionary adaptation. Principles from evolutionary theory and statistical physics will be used to explain the evolution and constraints of microbial survival strategies under well-defined selective pressures in the laboratory. This study will be carried out together with two postdoctoral researchers (an experimentalist and theoretician).
We are searching for an excellent and highly motivated PhD student with a MSc degree in (bio-)physics, bioengineering or (systems) biology. He/she should have a strong interest in evolutionary theory, systems biology and fundamental biological research. The candidate is expected to have excellent communicative skills to be able to work in an international and interdisciplinary team of researchers.