Vacancies 78761-PhD-candidate-Mosquito-immunity-and-arbovirus-transmission
  • 36 hours a week
  • Temporary
  • 4 years
  • Date of publication: 30 January 2020
  • Deadline: 27 February 2020
  • Scale 10A: min € 2422 - max € 3103 gross per year at full employment (incl. vacation bonus and end of year payments)
  • First interview scheduled: 5 March 2020
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Job description

Mosquitoes are vectors for transmission of important human and animal pathogens including viruses such as Dengue, Zika, West Nile and Usutu virus (arthropod-borne viruses, arboviruses). A large, multidisciplinary consortium in the Netherlands aims to understand the factors that contribute to the emergence of arboviruses and to prepare for potential outbreaks. Within this project, a total of 26 PhD students will perform their research projects, collaborate, and obtain training on diverse aspects of arbovirus emergence and preparedness. Click here for the project description.

For this project, we are recruiting 2 PhD students. We are looking for highly motivated PhD candidates with an MSc in Molecular Life Sciences, Biomedical Sciences or a related study with a strong background in molecular biology and a demonstrated interest in virology.
PhD project 1: Mosquito immunity in native and invasive mosquitoes
Mosquitoes lack the adaptive immune responses of vertebrates, yet they possess a sophisticated and complex immune response to pathogen infections. This immune response is a critical determinant for pathogen transmission by the mosquito (vector competence). In this project, we will study the immune responses of native and invasive mosquitoes (Culex pipiens and Aedes albopictus) to arbovirus infection, and how these responses affect pathogen transmission. Transcriptomic and functional studies in adult mosquitoes will be performed to define the activation of innate immune pathways and small RNA-based immunity. In addition, we will analyze how different temperatures, climatic conditions and other stressors after vector immunity.
PhD project 2: Modulating mosquito immunity

Like all multicellular organisms, mosquitoes have a resident microbiome and virome that may affect their immune system and therefore their ability to transmit viruses. This PhD project will identify resident insect viruses and bacteria in Dutch mosquitoes using sequencing and culture-based methods and analyze how these affect vector competence (the ability of a mosquito to transmit specific arboviruses). Moreover, newly identified insect-specific viruses will be used to modulate mosquito immunity as a potential approach to inhibit arbovirus transmission. 


  • Recent MSc degree in Molecular Life Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, or a related program.
  • Strong background in molecular cell biology.
  • Strong interest in virology.
  • Experience with next generation-sequencing and the analyses of large sequence datasets is considered an advantage.
  • Good communication skills and good command of spoken and written English.
  • Willingness to perform secondments in partners within the consortium.


The laboratory of Experimental Virology (PI: prof. dr. Ronald van Rij) studies molecular aspects of arbovirus infection. Together with other groups of Radboud University Medical Center, the lab is based in the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (RIMLS), a multidisciplinary research institute in the life sciences. RIMLS provides a stimulating scientific environment, with state-of-the-art core facilities, including cellular imaging, proteomics, and genomics.

The PhD students will be enrolled in the RIMLS PhD program, which provides advanced training through courses, lecture series, and symposia. In addition, the PhD students will be active in the One Health PACT Consortium. These PhD projects will be performed in close collaboration with the Departments of Virology (PI: dr. Gorben Pijlman) and Entomology (PI: dr. Sander Koenraadt) of Wageningen University.

Research Institutes
At the moment there are more than 1,300 PhD candidates at our medical hospital. This number includes PhD candidates on our pay roll as well as external candidates (those employed somewhere else but researching on our premises).
  • Radboud Institute for Health Sciences: ± 700
  • Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences: ± 400
  • Donders Center for Medical Neurosciences: ± 200
Read what it is like to do a PhD at the Radboud University Medical Center.

Radboudumc strives to be a leading developer of sustainable, innovative and affordable healthcare to improve the health and wellbeing of people and society in the Netherlands and beyond. This is the core of our mission: To have a significant impact on healthcare. To get a better picture of what this entails, check out our strategy.

Read more about what it means to work at Radboudumc and how you can do your part.

Working conditions

Upon commencement of employment we require a certificate of conduct (Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag, VOG) and there will be, depending on the type of job, a screening based on the provided cv. Radboud university medical center’s HR Department will apply for this certificate on your behalf.

Read more about the Radboudumc employment conditions and what our International Office can do for you when moving to the Netherlands.

Comments and contact information

Applicants should write a motivation letter outlining specific interest in the position, a list of grades, a curriculum vitae, and contact information of professional references.

For more information, visit; or contact Prof. dr. Ronald van Rij, full professor. Use the Apply button to submit your application.

Please apply before 27 February.
Recruitment agencies are asked not to respond to this job posting.

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