The Faculty of Sciences, research institute Research Institute: Centre for
Environmental Sciences, research group Environmental Biology of Hasselt
University seeks a (m/f/x)
PhD student Environmental Biology
The Centre for Environmental Sciences at UHasselt, in collaboration with the
Belgian Nuclear Research Centre and the research groups Microbiology and Plant
Genetics at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, wants to hire a full-time PhD student
to investigate the mechanisms of environmental adaptation in pines and their
associated rhizosphere mirobiome. The extreme event of the Fukushima nuclear
disaster is a case study within a FWO-project.
How can adaptations in pines and symbiotic rhizosphere communities support
tree survival after a nuclear accident? Microbial symbionts are known to
contribute to survival of host plants under a range of environmental stress
conditions. Upon a drastic change in the environment, the community of
symbionts can react by changing its species composition or by evolutionary
adaptation to the new conditions. In this PhD project, the extreme event of
the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident will be used as a case study for a
sudden drastic change in environmental conditions. You will investigate the
effects of a sudden increase in ionizing radiation on the species composition
of the rhizosphere community on the one hand, and on the evolution of
radiation tolerance of an important mycorrhizal fungus on the other hand. By
linking these parameters to host plant survival and performance, we may be
able to advance our understanding of how symbionts provide resilience to their
host in the face of changing environmental stress.
We are looking for a candidate with a strong background in at least one of the
following fields: microbiology, evolutionary biology, microbial ecology,
population genomics or bioinformatics. This is a project with a significant
data-analysis part. Previous experience with NGS data and bioinformatics or
programming skills will be considered an asset.
You have a master degree in biology, biotechnology, biochemistry, applied
biology (engineering) (or equivalent)
You have a strong background in at least one of the following fields:
microbiology, evolutionary biology, microbial ecology, plant sciences or
You are cooperative and can work well in teams.
You can work well independently, paying attention to the need to
communicate with colleagues and mentor(s).
You are willing to go on trips abroad.
You are willing to do some research at the project partner institutions
You are fluent in both spoken and written English.
You will be appointed and paid as PhD student.
2 x 2 year after positive evaluation
You can only apply online up to and including 15 August 2021.
The selection procedure consists of a preselection based on application file
and an interview.
Prof. dr. Jan COLPAERT, +32-11-268304, firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. dr. Nele HOREMANS, email@example.com
dr. Rik VERDONCK, +32-11-268224, firstname.lastname@example.org
More about working at Hasselt University? Check www. uhasselt.be/vacancies for
our staff benefits.