Research area

The Institute of Biomembranes (IB) is a unique multi-disciplinary research-training institute at Utrecht University. Cutting-edge research on biological membranes provides optimal training and infrastructure for the next generation of talented researchers and allows a strong contribution to solving societal problems by knowledge valorisation.

The IB has been founded by members of the department of Biology, the department of Chemistry (Faculty of Science), the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, and the University Medical Center Utrecht. Currently, the IB research focuses on membrane biogenesis, membrane trafficking, and membrane structure & dynamics. During their training, PhD candidates obtain large-scale and in-depth exposure to researchers of the Faculty of Science, University Medical Center and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. At these institutes, there is increasing demand of IB PhD candidates in the framework of the much advocated ‘One Health concept’ that requires integrated knowledge from animal to man at the molecular level. The multi-disciplinary character of the IB is optimally suited for the next generation researchers ranging from molecular life sciences to applied life sciences in human and animal health. Due to the multidisciplinary approach of membranous structures the IB covers a wide range of research areas ranging from Microbiology, Biotechnology, Biochemistry, and Cell Biology to Veterinary medicine.

Associated research groups

All information regarding our researchers and research groups can be found at our website.

Profile of prospective PhD candidates

Admission to the IB requires that the candidate has successfully finished Bachelor’s and Master’s Studies. As IB scientists provide courses within the Molecular & Cellular Life Sciences Master’s programme of the Utrecht University Graduate School of Life Sciences, high potential students are often already selected and invited during this Master’s programme to apply for a PhD position within the IB. However, to select the best candidates we do not restrict recruitment for the IB PhD positions to our own Master’s students, but advertise both nationally and internationally. The strong competition with international candidates for positions will ensure that only the best students will be selected.

IB PhD candidates can also write a PhD project based on their personal interest. A selection committee, including internal scientists representing the different IB faculties, and external experts, including members of the scientific advisory committee of the school, review applications for positions. The selection committee will be instructed to give particular attention to the grades of the PhD candidates for their internships and take into account to what extent this is an original proposal reflecting the ideas of the student. The projects will be selected based on scientific excellence, originality and feasibility of the project idea, and potential to create collaboration between different IB research groups.

Mission of the training programme

Research in the IB is aimed at increasing insight into the function of biological membranes. This research is focused on three topics: membrane biogenesis, membrane trafficking, and membrane structure & dynamics. The functions of biomembranes are studied using a multidisciplinary approach using different biological model systems, which is reflected in the composition of associated groups that originate from different departments and faculties of the Utrecht University and UMC Utrecht.

Whit this focus, the IB fits seamlessly in the strategic theme Life Sciences of Utrecht.

Training programme

You can find the training programme here (pdf).

More information about this programme

Please visit The institute and graduate school of Biomembranes (IB)