Postdoc Position in Biology
University of Amsterdam

Postdoc Position in Biology 

Faculty/Services:  Faculty of Science
Educational level:  PhD
Function type:  Academic Staff
Closing date:  23 June 2023
Vacancy number:  11641



For a joint project between the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics and the Swammerdam Institute of Lifesciences at the University of Amsterdam, we offer a 20-month Postdoc position in evolutionary genomics.


The position is funded by a cross-disciplinary NWA small project grant and is part of the National Science Agenda route ‘The origin of life – on earth and in the universe’.

Within this cross-disciplinary research program, the prospective postdoc will focus on the predictability of genomic evolution in the context of animal-microbe interactions. The project will be supervised by dr Thomas Blankers (Evolutionary and Population Biology at IBED) and dr Meike T. Wortel (Microbiology Cluster at SILS), and is part of the research priority area Systems biology.

The project is a collaboration with Astrid T. Groot from IBED, Stanley Brul from SILS and Sander G. van Doorn from the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences.

The postdoc will be located in Amsterdam and become part of the dynamic community at IBED and SILS.


What are you going to do?


You will conduct independent research on the predictability of genomic evolution in the context of animal-microbe interactions. The project is situated at the interface of microbiology and evolutionary genomics and is subdivided in two subprojects:


Subproject 1: The first subproject aims to predict genetic evolution based on experimental data on standing genetic variation and fitness variation. The project leverages data on recently experimentally evolved populations of the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans. In this experiment, C. elegans was exposed to a novel dietary bacterium for 20 generations. You will conduct fitness assays and combine these results with existing genomic data using computational approaches to quantify how well we can predict genetic evolution.


Subproject 2: The second subproject aims to assess the repeatability and predictability of microbial evolution in response to predation by C. elegans. You will combine fitness assays and genomic analysis of Escherichia coli strains that have evolved in the presence and absence of C. elegans predation.


Together, these two projects will quantify the predictability of evolution in animal-microbe interactions. In doing so, the projects explore fundamental limits to the predictability of evolution, which is central to our understanding of evolutionary theory. However, you will also develop broadly applicable computational tools to forecast evolutionary change. Evolutionary forecasting has diverse applications, such as in healthcare and in developing sustainable agricultural practices.


You will be working independently and interact with other members of the labs, research groups, and institutes through regular meetings, seminars, and social events. Dissemination of research findings to the general public is a key objective of National Science Agenda funded projects. To explore novel media for societal dissemination, the project also includes funding for the development of virtual reality outreach material. 


What do you have to offer?


You are a highly motivated, independent postdoctoral researcher with a strong interest in animal-microbe interactions and animal and microbe evolution.


Your experience and profile:


  • a PhD in evolutionary biology, systems biology or related field
  • a strong background in evolutionary genetics
  • experience in comparative genomics
  • committed researcher, demonstrated by publications in international, peer-reviewed academic journals
  • ability to work independently as well as in a team
  • excellent English skills


Our offer


We offer a temporary employment contract for 38 hours per week for a period of 20 months, preferably starting in September 2023.


The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and dependent on relevant experience, ranges between € 2,960 to € 4,670 (scale 10). This does not include 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% year-end allowance. The UFO profile Researcher 4 is applicable. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants.

The Collective Labour Agreement of Universities of the Netherlands is applicable.


Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits:

  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime) and extra holidays between Christmas and 1 January;
  • multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;
  • a complete educational program for PhD students;
  • multiple courses on topics such as leadership for academic staff;
  • multiple courses on topics such as time management, handling stress and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses;
  • 7 weeks birth leave (partner leave) with 100% salary;
  • partly paid parental leave;
  • the possibility to set up a workplace at home;
  • a pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
  • the possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;


Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.


About us


The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.


The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.


The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics is one of eight research institutes of the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam. The research at IBED aims to unravel how ecosystems function in all their complexity, and how they change due to natural processes and human activities. At its core lies an integrated systems approach to study biodiversity, ecosystems and the environment. IBED adopts this systems approach to ecosystems, addressing abiotic and biotic factors, and the interplay between those. The IBED vision includes research encompassing experimental and theoretical approaches at a wide variety of temporal and spatial scales, i.e. from molecules and microorganisms to patterns and processes occurring at the global scale. The University of Amsterdam has excellent high performance computing facilities. Furthermore, IBED has a dedicated computational support team with specialized knowledge of bioinformatics, (geo)database management and scientific programming. IBED also works with non-academic partners to deliver transdisciplinary science for society.


The Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS) is one of the largest institutes of the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam. The institute comprises biological disciplines including molecular and cell biology, microbiology, plant science, physiology and neurobiology, supported by modern enabling technologies for the life sciences. We have four underpinning technologies that focus on mass spectrometry, genomics and transcriptomics, advanced data analysis and advanced microscopy. Knowledge from adjacent fields of science, in particular biochemistry, biophysics, medicine, bioinformatics, statistics and information technology make SILS a multidisciplinary research institute focussing on the broad research field of life sciences.


SILS’ research objective is to understand the functioning of living organisms, from the most basic aspects up to complex physiological functions. Biological processes are studied at the level of molecules, cells, cellular networks and organisms, and the interactions between and in all those levels. Within the institute, this leads to exchange of information and extension of research over the borders of different disciplines. Part of SILS research activities happen in close collaboration with industry.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


Any questions?


Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:


Job application


If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the button below. We accept applications until and including 23 June 2023.


Applications should include the following information (all files besides your cv should be submitted in one single pdf file):


  • a detailed CV including the months (not just years) when referring to your education and work experience;
  • a letter of motivation;
  • a list of publications;
  • the names and email addresses of two references who can provide letters of recommendation.


Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.


The interviews will be held in July.



The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.


No agencies please.




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