Scholarship: Phd Position in Microbial Biofilm Management


Scholarship: Phd Position in Microbial Biofilm Management

Deadline: January 15, 2017

Location: KU Leuven (Leuven)

Reference: (Ref. BAP-2016-624)

A PhD student position in the field of microbial biofilm management is available at the ‘Microbial Communities & Antimicrobials Group’ (MICA), led by prof. Hans Steenackers, at the Centre of Microbial and Plant Genetics, KU Leuven, Belgium. This position is part of the EU H2020 Marie Curie academic-industrial Innovative Training Network Bioclean, coordinatied by Procter and Gamble.


The MICA group focuses on the study of social interactions and evolution in microbial communities, such as biofilms, and the development of novel antimicrobials targeting community behaviour.

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BIOCLEAN: BIOfilm management and CLEANing by leveraging fundamental understanding of biological,chemical and physical combined approaches

This PhD position is part of the EU H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN ‘Bioclean’, which is coordinated by Procter and Gamble (P&G) and aims to create a sustainable training network for PhD students across academia, industry and the healthcare sector to solve industrial and healthcare sector real life biofilm management challenges. The training network consists of 15 PhD students, with complementary competences in chemistry, engineering and experimental wet lab biology, who will be based at different European universities and will meet each other at least every 6 months. Each PhD student is co-supervised by an industrial supervisor from P&G and will have an industrial internship of 6 months at P&G (UK) (

The specific PhD position at the MICA group focuses on studying the effect of antimicrobial surface modifications (developed by other PhD students in the training network) on biofilm structure and community organization. The PhD student will develop suitable biofilm models and characterize changes in biofilm formation (elucidating gene expression, adhesion, cohesion and compositional) in response to surface modifications. A special focus will be on studying resistance development against the action of antimicrobial surfaces.


We are seeking highly motivated candidates that hold a master in microbiology/bio-engineering related subjects. Experience in cell and gene technology, gene expression profiling, microscopy and experimental evolution are particularly welcome. The candidate should be open to interdisciplinary collaboration and be interested in both fundamental and applicative research. The candidate should have less than 4 years FTE research experience and should have lived no longer than 12 months in Belgium during the last 3 years.


3 year financial support to pursue a PhD (including Living, Mobility and Family Allowance)
The EU BIOCLEAN training network of 15 PhD students offers a unique environment for international academic-industrial (P&G) collaboration
Being part of the young and dynamic MICA research group (8 PhD students, 2 lab technicians) of the Centre of Microbial and Plant Genetics (~100 researchers) at the KU Leuven top-ranked university
Living in the beautiful and vibrant medieval university town Leuven, situated in the heart of Europe, 20 km from Brussels
An industrial internship at P&G UK


Informal enquiries and applications can be submitted to Prof. Hans Steenackers (tel: +32 16 37 95 19, mail:
You can apply for this job no later than January 15, 2017 via the online application tool.
You can apply for this job no later than January 15, 2017 via the online application tool

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Kunlere Idowu

Kunlere is an environment and sustainable development strategist with years of active experience in environmental compliance monitoring and enforcement. You may follow him on Twitter via @kunlere_idowu


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