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 Steering the dynamics of engineered phages in bacterial bioreactor processes

KU Leuven, Belgium

Deadline:09 Feb 2024

Job Information
KU Leuven
Research Field
Biological sciences » Biological engineering
Researcher Profile
First Stage Researcher (R1)
Application Deadline
9 Feb 2024 – 00:00 (UTC)
Type of Contract
Job Status
Hours Per Week
38 hours/week
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?
Not funded by an EU programme
Reference Number
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?

Offer Description

Bacteriophages, the viruses targeting bacteria, possess the ability to replicate within bacterial populations through an infection and lysis cycle. In specific instances, phages can integrate their genetic material into the host cell, coexisting within the bacterial population until conditions favor a renewed lytic phage reproduction. As part of a comprehensive research project, our objective is to harness various phage characteristics to reprogram bacterial populations for controlled bioprocessing within a bioreactor.

This research position focuses on modeling the dynamics between phages and their host bacteria, particularly engineered phages, across diverse bioreactor conditions. Your role involves constructing a predictive population balance model that incorporates regulatory circuitry and metabolic pathways. This model aims to calculate optimal tuning for phages and circuitry while simulating optimal bioreactor operation conditions.

Through bioreactor experiments employing engineered phages, you will investigate phage-bacteria dynamics, define process conditions, and establish guidelines for circuit design to facilitate modeling and process optimization. Your analysis will span both macroscopic and microscopic levels to capture population and gene circuit dynamics. Initial experiments will be designed based on model and parameter identification, eventually focusing on validating the optimized process. Collaborative efforts with other researchers specializing in phage engineering will involve providing circuitry design information and facilitating interactions for comprehensive project outcomes.

Research Field


Education Level

Master Degree or equivalent

Additional Information

• Detailed employment conditions will be shared upon contact.

 • You will be supported in all aspects in order to successfully run your research project.

•You will be given opportunities to participate at national and international meetings and establish your network. 

•A competitive salary (https://www.kuleuven.be/personeel/jobsite/en/phd/phd-information#workin… ).
Eligibility criteria

• You hold a Master or PhD in bioscience engineering, (bio)chemical engineering, or a related field.

• You have experience in mathematical modelling of biological processes, e.g., bioreactor process modelling, synthetic gene circuit modelling, or population balance models.

• You have bioreactor processing experience, or other relevant experimental background.

• You are a passionate researcher with a critical mind.

• You are a team player with the ability to collaborate, and manage your own research project.

• Advanced command of both spoken and written English is mandatory. 
Selection process

You should upload a detailed Curriculum Vitae and transcript of courses together with a concise letter of motivation in the online portal.

For more information, you may contact Prof. Kristel Bernaerts ([email protected] ).

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments.

If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact  [email protected] .
You can apply for this job no later than 09/02/2024 via the online application tool
Work Location(s)
Number of offers available1

Company/InstituteKU LeuvenCountryBelgiumState/ProvinceVlaams BrabantCityLeuvenPostal Code3000StreetLeuvenGeofield

Where to apply

Vlaams Brabant
Postal Code

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Last modified: January 20, 2024