PhD Student Position: Fluorescent Biosensors in Neurodegenerative Diseases

Brussels VIB-VUB Center for Structural Biology

24 May 2024


VIB-VUB Center for Structural Biology

Joris Messens Lab



About the Lab

A PhD student position on the design and application of fluorescent protein-based biosensors in neurodegenerative disease is immediately available at the Messens Lab. Successful candidates will join the exciting research environment of the Messens VIB lab at the Center for Structural Biology, Brussels, Belgium ( 

The Messens lab is recognized as a world leader in the redox field, and the lab provides an outstanding position in protein biochemistry in a highly dynamic and team-oriented research group. In this state-of-the-art research setting, you address crucial fundamental questions concerning subcellular dynamics and metabolite communication in neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS. This exciting opportunity involves research at the intersection of protein biochemistry, cell biology, microfluidics, and optics as part of a consortium formed between the Messens lab and specialized labs at the VUB focusing on the design of microfluidic devices with advanced laser optics.


  • Design and optimize fluorescent protein-based biosensors for the detection of metabolites such as hydrogen peroxide and employ them in human cells using confocal microscopy
  • Design and optimize fluorescence-based protein aggregation techniques
  • Closely collaborate with other teams in the consortium to advance research objectives and contributions to scientific publications
  • Present research findings at conferences and seminars


  • Master's or Bioengineering degree (or equivalent) in Bioengineering, Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology
  • Strong background in protein biochemistry
  • Preference will be given to candidates with a Master's thesis in protein biochemistry and/or cellular fluorescence detection techniques
  • Excellent communication in English and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team

We offer

  • Competitive stipend and benefits package
  • Access to cutting-edge research facilities and resources
  • Opportunities for professional development and networking
  • Initial one-on-one supervision by a more senior scientist
  • Attendance of national and international conferences
  • Collaborative and supportive research environment
  • Guidance in fellowship applications

Application Deadline: 1 July 2024 – We particularly encourage final-year Master in Bioengineering Sciences students to apply for this position.

Starting date: Flexible, preferably immediate 

How to Apply?

Interested candidates are invited to submit a CV, a cover letter outlining their research interests and relevant experience, academic transcripts, and contact information for at least one reference.

Please submit your application via the VIB application tool.

For more information or inquiries about the position, mail to

Join us in making groundbreaking discoveries and shaping the future of scientific research! We look forward to welcoming you to our team at the VIB-VUB Center for Structural Biology.

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 one’s identity. All of VIB’s employees’ points of view are key to its success, and inclusion is everyone's responsibility.