Maastricht University – PhD-candidate, FHML/NUTRIM – Department of Human Biology and Department of Microbiology


Project description

Although antibiotics have drastically reduced infection-associated morbidity and mortality, their use is also associated with detrimental health effects amongst others through perturbations of our intestinal microbes (microbiota). This project will elucidate the subject-specific impact of antibiotics on the intestinal microbiota and to study whether administration of non-digestible carbohydrates can improve resilience and metabolic health in overweight individuals with slow microbiota recovery. To this end, the project involves the conduction of human dietary intervention studies and the application of state-of-the-art molecular and biochemical lab techniques.

Role Description

The PhD candidate will :

  • Study relevant literature in the field of the impact of antibiotics on gut microbiota and gut physiology and host metabolism
  • Work out the details of the project proposal and obtain medical ethical approval
  • Perform molecular and biochemical lab analyses and accompanying data-analyses
  • Plan, coordinate and perform the human intervention studies

Main Tasks and responsibilities

We offer a challenging PhD research project and we ask for a highly motivated, and enthusiastic researcher who will be responsible for:

  • contributing to the full project plan
  • staying abreast of developments in his scientific discipline by keeping up with the scientific literature in his field and visiting scientific meetings
  • generating ideas within the scope of the defined subject
  • supervising of research assistants and students, where appropriate
  • delivering results in line with the project plan milestones and deliverables
  • keeping up with the latest scientific developments and integrating these in the project
  • converting data and results of the sub-project into overview reports
  • keeping traceable records of all results and analyses according to the lab journal procedure
  • writing high-quality clearly written papers about the results obtained and getting these published in high–impact scientific journals.
  • completing a thesis after 4 years.


MSc. in medicine, nutrition, biomedical sciences or health sciences, with proven interest in the biochemical and functional aspect of gut microbiota and metabolism. Good communication and organisational skills are a requirement, as well as the qualities to work within a team.

Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 16,300 students and 4,300 employees. Reflecting the university’s strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Humanities and Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.

NUTRIM School of Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism initiates and catalyzes translational research into nutritional health benefits and risks focusing on metabolic and chronic inflammatory diseases. Through its research master and PhD programme NUTRIM aims to educate scientists of high academic excellence and ambassadors to support and develop the filed of nutrition, metabolism and toxicology within and outside the Netherlands. 16 Biomedical, clinical, and behavioural-science departments are incorporated within NUTRIM. The school is a partner in the national Top Institutes TI Food&Nutrition, TI-Pharma and the Centre for Translational Molecular Medicine (CTMM). These unique consortia of government, industry and research aim to stimulate the transfer of knowledge generated in fundamental research to Dutch industry and thus to strengthen its innovative power and competitive strength.

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