PhD Student in Virology
Wageningen University

PhD Student in Virology

Location Lelystad

We are looking for

We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD student with a special interest in virology, and ex vivo models to study the characteristics of influenza viruses.

About the project

Avian influenza, also called bird flu, is a notifiable animal disease in poultry and wild birds. Wild birds are the natural hosts for avian influenza viruses and can transmit the virus to poultry. Avian influenza viruses can sporadically infect humans, and may pose a risk to public health. The potential of a virus to transmit and cause disease in a particular host is dependent on the specific virus strain.  However, the genetic characteristics that determine the virulence of a virus are currently poorly understood. In this project, you will investigate the relationship between genetic characteristics and the virulence of the virus for different hosts. You will develop ex vivo models for avian influenza, such as tissue explants, differentiated primary cells, and organoids. Development of ex vivo models to evaluate specific virus features will contribute to the reduction of animal experiments. In the future, these ex vivo models can be used to quickly asses the characteristics of novel avian influenza viruses causing outbreaks in the Netherlands.

The project will be carried out in close collaboration with prof. Wim H.M. van der Poel - associated with Wageningen University - who will act as an academic promoter within the Graduate School “Wageningen Institute for Animal Sciences (WIAS)”. This project is funded in part by the Dutch Ministry of Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.

You will be partly working in the High Containment Unit (HCU). As a result, you may not come into contact with animals prone to contracting foot and mouth disease or with commercial poultry farms for three days (72 hours) following your visit to the HCU (EU legislation).

We ask

  • MSc degree in Biology, Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biomedical Sciences or equivalent.
  • A demonstrated ability to perform high-level biomedical research.
  • Affinity and/or experience with ex vivo models, e.g. explants, primary cells, organoids.
  • Affinity and/or experience in virology, working under BSL3-conditions.
  • Affinity and/or experience with genetic analysis.
  • Enthusiasm and motivation to be involved in a PhD project and obtain a Wageningen University PhD degree.
  • You are able to function well both in a team as well as independently.
  • Good communication and academic writing skills in English, and preferably also in Dutch.
You will be asked to submit a Certificate of Good Conduct.
A pre employment screening will be part of the selection procedure.

We offer

We offer you a challenging project for a period of 4 years within a large consortium of multi-disciplinary research groups. The position is available within Wageningen University & Research at Wageningen Bioveterinary Research in Lelystad.
The organization has good and flexible employment conditions, including good education and training facilities for PhD students at the Graduate School ‘Wageningen Institute for Animals Sciences (WIAS)’.
Employment basis: Appointment for 36 hours per week for a period of 1.5 years with extension of 2.5 years after successful evaluation. The gross salary is in according to the Collective Labour Agreement of Wageningen University and first year salary is € 2.317,- per month rising to € 2.962,- in the fourth year.

More information

For further information you can contact Nancy Beerens, head of the National Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza (0320-238217 or
You can apply until April 10th, 2020. Please do not e-mail your application directly to the person mentioned above, but use the website of Wageningen University & Research:

We are planning to have the interviews in week 17 or 18.

Equal opportunities employer
We are an employer that offers equal opportunities. We are happy to receive applications from all suitably qualified people regardless of race, gender, functional impairment, religion / belief, sexual orientation or age.

We believe that a diverse and inclusive working environment makes us a more relevant, competitive and resilient organization. Click here for more information about working at WUR with a functional impairment

We are

The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Within Wageningen University & Research, nine specialised research institutes from the Wageningen Research Foundation and Wageningen University have joined forces to help answer the most important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR) in Lelystad is the Dutch national reference laboratory for notifiable animal diseases and a contract research organization for various partners nationally and internationally. Our mission is safeguarding animal and human health through bio-veterinary research.

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Bioloxy


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