PhD Student Ghent

Ghent VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology

10 Jan 2018


VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology

Xavier Saelens Lab



About VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology

VIB is a life sciences research institute, based in Flanders, Belgium. We perform basic research with a strong focus on translating scientific results into pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial applications. VIB is an independent research institute of the government, with 1470 scientists from more than 60 countries working at UGent, KU Leuven, University of Antwerp, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Hasselt University.

The VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology (CMB) focuses on the development of new and innovative molecular tools and technologies to challenge human health problems. The Center translates its novel technologies and insights to widely applicable research tools, vaccines, diagnostics and biopharmaceuticals. Our research pushes the boundaries of protein-focused biomolecular and bioinformatics research and engineering technologies. CMB educates and trains the next generation of medical biotechnology researchers and informs the public on the impact of biotechnology on human health.

The Xavier Saelens lab has a strong interest in the study of respiratory viruses such as influenza and human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Our prime aim is to deepen the understanding of how these globally circulating and medically important RNA viruses circumvent attack by the host immune system and to apply this knowledge for the generation of new antiviral drugs and vaccines.

For more information, please see:


The Saelens lab is recruiting a highly-motivated PhD student who will contribute to a project that aims to elucidate how RSV interferes with host RNA sensing and homeostasis. The experimental work plan comprises the generation and rescue of mutant RSV strains, virus-host protein-protein interaction studies, RNAseq analysis, RSV fitness studies, the generation and virus susceptibility testing of gene-edited mammalian cell lines, as well as virus pathogenicity studies. This PhD research project is imbedded in the newly launched VirEOS consortium that comprises 6 Belgian research groups, all of whom have a strong background in virology and host anti-viral immune defense.

We offer

  • A four year contract with a competitive salary based on the Ghent University salary scales
  • A working environment with enthusiastic fellow PhD students, technicians and postdocs
  • Access to state-of-the art tools and infrastructure that are needed to fulfil your PhD project
  • A stimulating and supportive international research environment
  • Institutional training opportunities to broaden your expertise and skills.


  • Master degree in biomedical sciences, bioscience engineering, (bio)chemistry, (molecular) biology or biotechnology
  • Enthusiastic, curiosity driven scientist
  • Team player with ability to take initiative and solve problems
  • Highly motivated to perform wet lab experiments
  • Critical, scientific mind-set, keen interest in the recent discoveries in biomedical sciences
  • Good oral and written communication skills in both Dutch and English
  • Hands-on experience in virology research (e.g. based on a master thesis project or an internship) and RNA and molecular biology techniques are an asset.

How to apply?

For more information, please contact Xavier Saelens. Please apply online and upload your resume and motivation letter.