Do you want to become part of a large group of researchers working on the
microbial secretory production of milk proteins? Do you want to use your
passion for life science to carry out research to develop an animal-free,
yeast-based system for expression of casein kinase to phosphorylate caseins?
Then this PhD position, embedded in two closely cooperating Wageningen UR
teams (applied microbial biotechnology, and dairy science & technology), may
be interesting for you.
In a new consortium of many companies and universities, led by Wageningen
University, we aim to produce milk proteins without cows. The focus of the
consortium will be on the main milk proteins, which are caseins, that are
present in milk as large colloidal particles called casein micelles. This
research will have different parallel projects, focused on 1) production of
the right caseins by yeast, 2) reconstitution of casein micelles from these
caseins, 3) the physical properties of these reconstituted casein, 4) cheese
preparation from the reconstituted casein micelles and investigation of casein
digestibility, 5) social aspects of this novel way of producing milk, and 6)
the economic feasibility and sustainability of this process. This vacancy
concerns project 1; production of caseins by yeast.
Your main tasks will be:
Development of a secretory production system for various caseins using
yeast strains as expression host;
investigation of secretory casein production by fermentation in bench-top
analysis of secreted casein and any post-translational modifications
(e.g. glycosylation, phosphorylation) by various techniques including
gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry;
development of casein phosphorylation by co-expression of casein kinase
and/or expression of kinase followed by in-vitro phosphorylation;
contribution to purification of secreted casein from the fermentation
in-depth analyses of the results and writing of high quality scientific
The research is embedded within the chair Food Quality and Design group
https: // www. wur.nl/en/Research-Results/Chair-groups/Agrotechnology-and-Food-
Sciences/Food-Quality-and-Design-1.htm and member of the FQD team, which is
led by Prof. Vincenzo Fogliano https: // www. wur.nl/en/Research-Results/Chair-
You will be co-supervised by Frits de Wolf and Marc Werten.
A successfully completed MSc degree in the field of biotechnology,
microbiology, molecular life
practical experience with molecular biology techniques (cloning, PCR,
sterile operations, genetic transformation);
practical experience with in-silico (software-mediated) manipulation of
DNA- and protein sequences;
practical experience with various biochemical techniques and preferably
also with culturing in bioreactors;
meticulous, punctual, responsible, creative and self-starting attitude,
strong scientific writing skills (evident from your MSc thesis and/or
enthusiasm for interdisciplinary research (molecular biology,
fermentation technology, protein purification);
excellent command of written and spoken English (a certificate of
Proficiency in English may be required, depending on your MSc program);
team player with a drive, capable of communicating with people from other
Conditions of employment
Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few
highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
Sabbatical leave, study leave, and paid parental leave;
working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for
the best possible work-life balance;
the option to accrue additional holiday hours by working more, up to 40
hours per week;
there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports
facilities available on campus for a small fee;
a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
excellent pension scheme.
In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully
funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your
needs and the research team.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.395,- per month rising to € 3.061,-
in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch
Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week
of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be
extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.
There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment,
and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique
position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working
You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland,
and at a university that has been chosen as the Best University in the
Netherlands for the 16th consecutive time.
Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for
life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the
world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot
to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the
Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our
team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa
application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.
Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen
University & Research's International Community page contains practical
information about what we can do to support international employees and
students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any
additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job,
housing, schooling, and other issues.
Wageningen University & Research
The mission of Wageningen University and Research is "To explore the potential
of nature to improve the quality of life". Under the banner Wageningen
University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research
institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in
contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of
healthy food and living environment.
With its roughly 30 branches, 6.800 employees and 12.900 students, Wageningen
University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An
integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various
disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen's unique approach. WUR has been
named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.
Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch
this video to get an idea of our green campus!
Do you want more information?
For more information about this position, please contact contact both Frits de
Wolf, Senior Scientist, email: firstname.lastname@example.org and Marc Werten, Scientist,
For more information about the procedure, please contact Emma Langelaan, HR
Advisor, by mail: email@example.com or Rutger Voorrips, Recruiter, by
Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our
website which will allow us to process your personal information with your
This vacancy will be listed up to and including 19 August 2021.
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with
very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other.
We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the
same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from
people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our
inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be
read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.