Researcher (Postdoc, PhD): Genome Editing and Systems Genetics

Leuven VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology

11 Jan 2021


VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology



About VIB 

Basic research in life sciences is VIB’s raison d’être. VIB is an independent research institute where some 1,500 top scientists from Belgium and abroad conduct pioneering basic research. As such, they are pushing the boundaries of what we know about molecular mechanisms and how they rule living organisms such as human beings, animals, plants, and microorganisms. 

Based on a close partnership with five Flemish universities – Ghent University, KU Leuven, University of Antwerp, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and Hasselt University – and supported by a solid funding program, VIB unites the expertise of all its collaborators and research groups in a single institute. 

VIB’s technology transfer activities translate research results into concrete benefits for society such as new diagnostics and therapies and agricultural innovations. These applications are often developed by young start-ups from VIB or through collaborations with other companies. This also leads to additional employment and bridges the gap between scientific research and entrepreneurship. VIB also engages actively in the public debate on biotechnology by developing and disseminating a wide range of science-based information.

Our institute greatly values diverse standpoints and equality and promotes an inclusive research environment in which everybody, irrespective of nationality, gender, race, and personal beliefs is respected.

VIB‐KU Leuven Center for Microbiology 

The VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology is part of the VIB life sciences institute and is embedded within the University of Leuven. The Center aims to combine leading basic microbiology and systems biology research with top technology transfer activities.  

The current research focuses on microbes as a model to study their general biology, cellular physiology, ecology, and evolution, including themes like genetic and epigenetic inheritance, cellular sensing and signaling, biofilms, and the intestinal ecosystem. Apart from being a leader in basic research, the Center is also an important hub for translational research, with emphasis on the beer, wine, bakery, biofuels, and green chemicals industries, as well as human medicine (antifungals, microbiome analysis,…). 

Job description

We are looking for ambitious and highly motivated Ph.D. student and/or postdoc candidates to join the Genome Editing and Systems Genetics Group (Vonesch lab – VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology). 

We develop cutting edge CRISPR technologies for high-throughput precision genome perturbation, and scalable functional genomics and genome-wide technologies that measure molecular and cellular consequences of genetic perturbations. We apply these tools to unravel the functional roles of genetic variants in the context of complex traits and synthetic biology. The yeast S. cerevisiae, a model for many basic processes in humans and other biological systems, is our main model system, but we are looking to transfer our technologies to other organisms. Work in the group is highly multidisciplinary across diverse projects and integrates wetlab and computational biology.


  • You have a Master’s or Ph.D. degree in a relevant field (biotechnology, molecular biology, microbiology, bioengineering, CRISPR/Cas genome engineering, systems genetics, genomics, computational biology).
  • You have acquired relevant practical experience with regard to the research lines of the group. Prior experience with next-generation sequencing technologies is a major plus.
  • You are capable of independently planning, executing and troubleshooting your daily work, and take an interest in driving your project, including identifying and proposing productive research directions.
  • You are passionate about science, ambitious, self-motivated, friendly and supportive, and work well in a collaborative and international environment.
  • You have excellent verbal and written English communication skills. The working language is English.

We are furthermore looking for applicants that have an interest in performing both experimental and computational work in the context of their project. Knowledge of a programming language (R, Python) and experience with high-throughput approaches is desirable.

We offer

  • A stimulating, diverse, and international research environment in a young and dynamic team. You will be part of building a new research group with ample opportunities for mentoring and career development.
  • You will have the opportunity to take the lead on exciting research projects with methodological and applied focus in the areas of CRISPR genome engineering, genomics, and systems genetics. You will have the opportunity to work with cutting edge genome engineering tools and contribute to their further development.
  • For Ph.D. students: A 4-year Ph.D. position, divided into 2 times 2 years.
  • For postdocs: Financial support is available for at least 2 years. However, the successful candidate is encouraged to obtain a personal fellowship (Marie-Curie, HFSP, EMBO, or National funding organizations).
  • Access to state-of-the-art infrastructure, including robotics instrumentation and next-generation sequencing facilities
  • Competitive salary and benefits adapted to diploma and experience
  • Possibility for further training and education

The position is available from May 2021, the starting date is negotiable.

How to apply?

Motivated candidates are asked to apply online.

For more information please contact Dr. Sibylle Vonesch (

Applications must include a CV, list of publications, a motivation statement and the contact details of two referees.