Postdoc wetlab – Yeast synthetic biology

Leuven VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology

06 Aug 2022


VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology

Kevin Verstrepen Lab



22 Aug 2022

Job description

We are looking for a highly motivated and talented wet-lab postdoctoral researcher with experience in yeast molecular biology / metabolic engineering/synthetic biology. In your role, you will work on exciting research projects – you will be directly collaborating with our team of wet-lab scientists who are using synthetic biology and high-throughput phenotyping of yeast with the goal of building better industrial yeasts for the sustainable production of various (food) products.

Who we are

The lab for Systems Biology of Kevin Verstrepen is a research team at VIB & University of Leuven. Our team focuses on genomics, genetics, epigenetics, transcriptomic, and evolution, using yeast as a model. We combine wet-lab and computational research to investigate how biological systems work and evolve and exploit this technology to generate superior industrial use.  About half of the lab members are engaged in basic research, while the other half are involved in translational research, in most cases in direct collaborations with various companies.

Example publications include:

  • J. Steensels, K.J. Verstrepen . (2014). Taming wild yeast: potential of conventional and nonconventional yeasts in industrial fermentations. Annu Rev Microbiol. 68: 61-80.  (IF 12.9)
  • J. Steensels, T. Snoek, E. Meersman, M. Picca Nicolino, M., K. Voordeckers, and K.J. Verstrepen (2014).  Improving industrial yeast strains: exploiting natural and artificial diversity.  Fems Microbiol. Rev. 38: 947-995. doi: 10.1111/1574-6976.12073 (IF 13.2).
  • J. Steensels, B. Gallone and K.J. Verstrepen (2021). Interspecific hybridization as a driver of fungal evolution and adaptation.  Nature Reviews Microbiology (IF 34.2)
  • K. Voordeckers, C. Colding, L. Grasso, B. Pardo, L. Hoes, J. Kominek, K. Gielens, K. Dekoster, J. Gordon, E. Van der Zande, P. Bircham, T. Swings, J. Michiels, P. Van Loo, S. Nuyts, P. Pasero, M. Lisby, and K.J. Verstrepen (2020). Ethanol exposure increases mutation rate through error-prone polymerases.  Nature Communications 113664 (IF 11.9).
  • J. Helsen, K. Voordeckers, L. Vanderwaeren, T. Santermans, M. Tsontaki, K.J. Verstrepen* and R. Jelier*. Gene loss predictably drives evolutionary adaptation. MBE 2020. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msaa172 (IF 14.8)
  • Jariani, L. Vermeersch, B. Cerulus, G. Perez-Samper, K. Voordeckers, T. Van Brussel, B. Thienpont, D. Lambrechts and K.J. Verstrepen (2020). A new protocol for single-cell RNA-seq reveals stochastic gene expression during lag phase in budding yeast.  eLife 2020;9:e55320 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.55320 (IF 7.5).
  • B. Gallone, J. Steensels, S. Mertens, M.C. Dzialo, J.L. Gordon, R. Wauters, F.A. Theßeling, F. Bellinazzo, V. Saels, B. Herrera-Malaver, T. Prahl, C. White, M. Hutzler, F. Meußdoerffer, P. Malcorps, B. Souffriau, L. Daenen, G. Baele, S. Maere and K.J. Verstrepen (2019). Interspecific hybridisation facilitates niche adaptation in beer yeast.  Nature Ecology and Evolution.  (IF 11).
  • 11 patents, >20 yeasts licensed to industry

The lab is located at Leuven University, one of the oldest and most prominent universities in Europe consistently ranked within the top 50 worldwide universities. Leuven is located 10 miles from Brussels, with frequent direct train connections to Brussels airport.


  • You have a Ph.D. degree in wet-lab molecular biology using Saccharomyces cerevisiae or other yeasts.
  • You have hands-on experience with techniques like PCR, cloning, transformation, protein analysis, chromatography…
  • You are fluent in English, for both written and oral communication

Key personal characteristics 

  • As a postdoc, you have a strong research output (peer-reviewed publications in high-quality journals (typically IF>10) and/or strong applied journals or patents
  • You are enthused about scientific research and have a strong self-motivation
  • You must have good, open communication skills and be willing to collaborate with multiple other researchers from our team.

We offer

  • The ability to work on scientifically exceptional and high-impact research topics
  • Full-time appointment as a postdoctoral fellow at VIB / KU Leuven, a highly-ranked research institute with a competitive pay scale and benefits (health insurance, sports facilities,... )
  • A stimulating and supportive international research environment (with English as the main language)
  • State-of-the-art infrastructure
  • Job is available immediately, starting date is negotiable
  • Various training opportunities within VIB and KU Leuven to broaden your expertise and skills

How to apply? 

Motivated candidates are asked to apply online. Additional requirements:

  • Please upload your full  CV including a list of your scientific publications and motivation letter
  • Please add the contact details of at least two references

More information:

Our institute greatly values diverse standpoints and promotes an inclusive environment in which everyone is respected. 


VIB values diversity - in backgrounds and in experiences. The institute needs people from all backgrounds and ways of life to help build a thriving scientific environment. VIB is therefore looking for candidates who are not only strong in their own aptitudes but care deeply about supporting each other's growth. VIB's collaborators are people with different strengths, experiences and backgrounds, who share a passion for science that generates impact in science and in society. Diversity not only includes race and gender identity, but also nationality, age, disability status, sexual orientation, religion and many other parts of ones identity. All of VIB's employees' points of view are key to its success, and inclusion is everyone's responsibility.