28 May 2019

Get in touch!


For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Chris Michiels, tel.: +32 16 32 15 78, mail: or Prof. dr. ir. Abram Aertsen, tel.: +32 16 32 17 52, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than July 07, 2019 via the online application tool
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Apply before 07 July 2019

The Laboratory of Food Microbiology conducts basic and applied research on bacteria that cause food spoilage or foodborne disease.


Bacterial spores are the most resistant life forms known. They can survive extremes of heat and pH, and high doses of radiation and disinfectants. For this reason, they are often implicated in the spoilage of processed foods, and some species can additionally cause foodborne infection or intoxication. Traditionally, the resistance of spores to heat and other stresses has been considered a stable property,characteristic for each species, and food processing conditions have been designed based on the resistance parameters documented in the literature. However, this view is being increasingly challenged,and “super-resistant” spores have occasionally appeared and caused problems in the food industry. In this project you will investigate how fast and how far spores can stretch their resistance to various stresses by making use of adaptive laboratory evolution experiments (ALE). Furthermore, you will unravel the genetic and physiological mechanisms underlying the evolved spore stress resistance by using whole genome sequencing and a range of genetic, biochemical and microbiological approaches. 

  • Talented and enthusiastic molecular microbiology researcher. Master degree in biology, biotechnology, bioengineering, or similar
  • Good knowledge of microbiology, genetics and bioinformatics, including laboratory skills
  • Academic performance showing high aptitude and interest in research 
  • Good communicative skills and a collaborative attitude
  • Proficiency of written and spoken English
  • Challenging research project at the forefront of the field 
  • Excellent scientific environment in a top-ranked university
  • Use of state-of the art technology in microbiological research
  • Living in the beautiful medieval university town Leuven, near Brussels in the heart of Europe
  • Funding is guaranteed for two years; the successful candidate is expected to apply for a fellowship from funding agencies like the Flemish FWO