The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Institute of Chemistry are looking for a:

PhD candidate || Identification and characterization of inhibitors of carbohydrate modifying enzymes to generate a new type of anti-bacterial molecule (1.0 fte)

Vacancy number: 22-397

Project Outline:
Bacteria need to create, breakdown, and modify the sugars that are on their cell surface in order to stay alive. This research will develop new molecules to stop bacteria from being able to perform these processes. In doing so we endeavour to create a new type of antibiotic that can cure otherwise difficult-to-treat infections.
This research project will focus on the chemistry and biochemistry of bacterial carbohydrate modifying enzymes and the discovery of inhibitors. This project will create new chemical tools and cutting-edge techniques to exert control over a class of sugar modifying enzymes, for which no effective inhibitors have been identified yet. To achieve these goals the project student will master a number of techniques, including: protein production and purification, high-throughput inhibitor screening, enzyme kinetics, organic synthesis, chemical biology and structural biology of enzymes and their complexes (X-ray crystallography). The PhD student must be motivated, flexible, communicative, able to work in both organic and biochemistry labs, and learn protein production methods and enzymology techniques.

Selection Criteria
•    Masters degree in Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, or equivalent;
•    Experience with Biochemistry and Chemical Biology is required;
•    Experience with Organic Chemistry is a plus;
•    Proficient in English;
•    Excellent communication skill. ability to work independently and as a team player in a multidisciplinary environment;
•    The PhD research needs to start before October 2022.

Our organisation
The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future. 

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organized in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programs. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,300 staff and almost 5,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

The chemistry and life science research in the Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC) is organized around two major research areas: ‘Chemical Biology’ and ‘Energy & Sustainability’. The institute’s research themes illustrate the central position of chemistry between biology, medicine and physics. The various research topics carried out within these themes are ideal for executing interdisciplinary research.

Terms and conditions  
We offer a full-time position for initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary range from € 2.540 to € 3.245  gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). 
Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. 
All our PhD candidates are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness. 

Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

Enquiries can be made to Dr. Zach Armstrong ( or Dr. Marta Artola ( ) 

To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to Jessica van Krimpen (management assistant), e-mail: Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number:
•    Letter of motivation addressed to Dr. Zach Armstrong and Dr. Marta Artola, including a statement why you are suited for this position;
•    Curriculum vitae;
•    Transcripts of bachelor and master curriculum courses, including grades;
•    Three references, including names, affiliations and email addresses 

Application deadline is 17 July 2022.

Apply now

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