Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences

Postdoctoral researcher metabolomics

Faculty of Science – Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences

Publication date
24 April 2017
Level of education
Salary indication
€2,552 to €3,899 gross per month
Closing date
31 May 2017
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS) is one of the largest institutes of the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Some 240 members of staff organized in 16 research groups engage in excellent research into three themes, i.e. Cell & Systems Biology, Neurosciences and Molecular Life Sciences.

Within the Theme Molecular Life Sciences five research groups have dedicated their research to plants: Plant Physiology, Molecular Plant Pathology, Developmental Genetics, Plant Cell Biology and Plant Hormone Biology.

The recently established research group Plant Hormone Biology investigates the role of plant hormones and other signalling molecules in the communication of plants with other organisms. An example of these signalling molecules, which are used by plants for communication in the soil, are the strigolactones. These are used by the friends of plants, the symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, for host detection but also by their enemies, root parasitic plants. Parasitic plants are a major threat to agriculture in large parts of the world, and especially in the African continent where millet, maize and sorghum yields are severely affected by the witchweed, Striga hermonthica.

In a project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, Promise, we will investigate with a number of partners in the Netherlands and United States, if the Striga problem can be tackled through the root microbiome of the host sorghum. With this and other funding (including an ERC Advanced grant) an international team of postdoctoral researchers, PhD’s and technicians with expertise varying from analytical chemistry to biochemistry to molecular biology will be working on a number of related topics pertaining to rhizosphere signalling.

We are looking for a  postdoctoral researcher with expertise in metabolomics and analytical chemistry who will study the root exudate metabolome and – in collaboration with partners within Promise - the relationship with the microbiome composition and identifies relevant signalling molecules through different analytical techniques. He/she will co-supervise the technician working on this topic.

Job description

The  postdoctoral researcher will be responsible for setting up reproducible root exudate collection from a range of sorghum genotypes, to analyse the metabolite composition of these root exudates using LC- and possibly GC-MS, to analyse the data to pinpoint differences between genotypes and treatments and to identity candidate compounds that seem to be important for differences in microbiome composition and/or Striga resistance. In collaboration with the other partners statistical analyses will be used to infer relationships between metabolite and root microbiome composition. Metabolites/masses that emerge from these analyses as candidates that affect the root microbiome and (therefore) Striga resistance in sorghum will be isolated using preparative methods, identified using NMR (in collaboration with chemists in UvA) and assessed for their effect on micro-organisms.


We are looking for a team player, with good command of English, and expertise in (LC) metabolomics, including metabolomics data analysis and compound isolation/identification. You have a PhD in this field. 

Further information

For further information you can contact:


The appointment will be on a temporary basis for a period of 1 year and after satisfactory evaluation can be extended with 2 more years to a total duration of 3 years. The candidate will co-supervise PhD student(s) and will be asked, in some cases, to assist in teaching of undergraduates. Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will be maximal €3,899 in the first year (scale 10 or 11, depending on experience and expertise). The Collective Employment Agreement (CAO) for Dutch Universities is applicable. 

Job application

Applications may only be submitted by electronic mail and should be sent to application-science@uva.nl. To enable us to process your application immediately, please quote the vacancy number 17-206 and the position you are applying for in the subject-line.

Applications must include a curriculum vitae and a letter of motivation. Please combine these documents in one single attachment and also mention the months (not just years) in your CV when referring to your education and work experience.

Applications will be accepted until 31 May 2017. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Published by  University of Amsterdam