1 PhD Position to Work on Self-Organization in Multicellular Systems
University of Leuven Centre of Microbial and Plant Genetics


(ref. BAP-2019-443)

The work in the lab revolves around fundamental biological questions using model organisms. We are part of the bioengineering faculty of KU Leuven, which has a strong record of combining advanced modeling with experimentation to study living systems for both applied and fundamental research. In Flanders there is an active community of C. elegans researchers, with 4 labs in Leuven. The lab is located on a beautiful campus just outside historic Leuven.



We use C. elegans embryogenesis as a model to understand how cells can robustly achieve their positioning as they form a complex multicellular system. In this project you will probe the embryo with quantitative microscopy and perturb it with temporal and spatial resolution using optogenetics. In the lab we search for new relevant molecular actors in positioning, and also explore the role of mechanics, cellular stiffness, adhesion and polarization. The broader research in the group is multi-disciplinary, which in practice means that the experiments and the imaging are supported by research on the molecular biology toolbox, image processing and computational modeling.


  • Talented and enthusiastic molecular and cellular biology researcher. Master degree in biology, biotechnology, bioengineering, or similar. Good grasp of molecular and developmental biology and genetics with an interest in interdisciplinary work.
  • Academic performance should show high aptitude and research interest. 
  • Good communicative skills and a collaborative attitude.
  • Advanced command of English is required (knowledge of Dutch is not required).


  • A high-profile project with great scientific potential.
  • Excellent scientific environment in top-ranked university, using state-of-the-art technology and methodology. Our research has been published in top journals such as Nature Genetics, PLoS genetics and Cell Systems.
  • Living in the beautiful medieval university town Leuven, a lively city situated in the heart of Europe, 20 km from Brussels.
  • Good remuneration and benefits.
  • Funding is guaranteed for 2 years, and the successful candidate will be encouraged to apply for fellowships, such as those by the Flemish funding agency (FWO). 



For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Rob Jelier, tel.: +32 16 37 73 19, mail: rob.jelier@kuleuven.be.


You can apply for this job no later than August 30, 2019 via the online application tool

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

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