2 PhD positions NanoNU-Marker: Nano-Chemical Biomarkers for Ageing and Neurodegeneration (2024)

Your job

We are looking for two PhD students to join our recently awarded project NanoNU-Marker to develop Nano-Chemical Biomarkers of Molecular Mechanisms and Nutritional Factors in Cognitive Ageing and Neurodegeneration.
Are you a highly driven, motivated and curious person loving interdisciplinary Science? Do you have an MSc degree in Physics, Chemistry or Molecular Life Sciences with focus on Biosciences? That makes a match!

You will work closely together with the other PhD and develop, combine and apply innovative emerging microfluidics, nano-chemical, and digital technologies. Purpose is to unravel the molecular links between protein aggregation, nutrition/lifestyle, and the onset and progression of cognitive ageing and neurodegenerative disease in older adults. These methods will be applied to study human biofluids as a nano-chemical fingerprint of patients’ nutritional and life-style behavior, to identify nano-chemical biomarkers of

Healthy Cognitive Ageing (PhD position 1)


Subjective Cognitive Decline (PhD position 2)

Your duties and responsibilities will include:

  • preparation and surface deposition of human biofluids via microfluidics;
  • use key surface analytical methods of analysis as bulk infrared spectroscopy, optical photothermal spectroscopy, and infrared nanospectroscopy (AFM-IR);
  • apply chemometrics and machine learning methods (AI) to analyze the data and identify nano-chemical biomarkers related to molecular and nutritional factors.

Your qualities

Are you a highly motivated and extremely curious researcher in the making? Is the “why?” and the “how” a part of your daily reasoning, both inside and outside of Science? Then you might be the perfect candidate for this position.

In summary, you have:

  • aMSc degree (or equivalent) in Physics, Chemistry or Molecular Life Sciences;
  • a strong background and solid hands-on experience in experimental analytical methods, data processing, and statistical analysis;
  • a strong interest (or preferentially: experience) in spectroscopy, microscopy, scanning probe technologies;
  • a deep interest in applying physical methods to complex bio-samples, such as human biofluids;
  • what it takes to work in a highly multidisciplinary, dynamic and collaborative environment and you are open to communicate to a language that is comprehensible to broad public and scientific audience.

For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognized Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here.

You will work here:
The research will be undertaken in the group of Dr. F. Simone Ruggeri (Nanoscale Microscopy and Spectroscopy), located within the chair groups of Organic Chemistry and Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter. You will be working closely together with Prof.dr. Lisette de Groot (PhD-1) and dr. Yannick Vermeiren (PhD-2) from the chair group of Nutritional Biology (division Human Nutrition and Health).

The two PhD position openings are also placed in the frame of the collaboration between Dr. Ruggeri and Wageningen University with Photothermal Spectroscopy Corporation (USA) and Bruker Nano Surface (USA); who are co-founders of the project and will provide fundamental engineering support. While the project is fundamental in nature, the PhDs will have the opportunity to work at the interface between Research and Technology Development targeting biomarkers of cognitive ageing.

We offer you

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment.A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • partially 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 compensation / 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 € 2.770 - per month rising to € 3.539,- 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 atmosphere.

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 19th 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.

Because we expect you to work and live in the Netherlands our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. We can assist you with any additional advice and information about for example helping your partner to find a job, housing, or schooling.

Finally, certain categories of international staff may be eligible for a tax exemption on a part of their salary during the first five years in the Netherlands.

Do you want more information?

For more information about this position, please contact Francesco Simone Ruggeri, Associate Professor, by email: simone.ruggeri@wur.nl.

For more information about the procedure, please contact Rutger Voorrips, corporate recruiter, by email: rutger.voorrips@wur.nl.

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 approval.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including the 8th of July 2024.

Additional information form
For this position,you must fill in a

mandatory form

which will allow us to have a comprehensive view of your qualifications and better assess your fit for it. You can access the form using this link.
Your prompt response will ensure that your application continues to move forward in the evaluation process. We assure you that the information provided will be kept confidential and used solely for this application process.

Equal opportunities
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. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

We are

The mission of Wageningen University & 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, 7,600 employees (6,700 fte) and 13,100 students and over 150,000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves and do not appreciate unasked for services from recruitment agencies. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.

2 PhD positions NanoNU-Marker: Nano-Chemical Biomarkers for Ageing and Neurodegeneration (2024)


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