Ph.D. position in organic chemistry and chemical biology

Be part of an exciting multidisciplinary project!


PhD position in organic chemistry and chemical biology (1.0 FTE)






Job description


The most prominent post-translational modification of proteins in terms of complexity and diversity is by complex carbohydrates, which are also known as glycans. It has been postulated that glycans encode information by an ability to recruit, in a context dependent manner, regulatory proteins. They are involved in the etiology of almost every major disease afflicting mankind. A hurdle in harnessing the therapeutics and diagnostics potential of glycans is their remarkable structural complexity and diversity and a lack of synthetic, analytical and biological tools to study these biomolecules.

This ERC-supported project will address a number of these deficiencies by developing chemo-enzymatic methodologies for the synthesis of glycans and glyco-conjugates of unprecedented complexity. The resulting compounds will be employed to develop integrated technologies that can unravel how glycans encode information. The synthetic glycans will be used for array development to study protein-glycan binding. Bio-orthogonal (click) methods will be implemented to attach synthetic glycans onto the surface of cells for gain-of-function studies. The project will focus on the involvement of complex glycans in infectious disease and immunology.

We are embarking on an exciting multidisciplinary project, and seek a creative and passionate scientist to join us. You will use chemical and enzymatic synthesis, combined with biological experiments, to unravel the role of glycans in health and disease.








We are looking for a candidate who can bring the following skills and qualifications to the table:

  • a completed MSc degree in chemical biology or organic chemistry with a focus on the preparation of complex biological compounds;
  • experience with biological techniques is a plus;
  • showing initiative, openness to collaborations, a proactive approach, and a solution-based mindset are all important for addressing research questions;
  • great enthusiasm for science and a willingness to help build a social and productive laboratory environment;
  • a good level of spoken and written English language skills.






  • a full-time position for 4 years;
  • a full-time gross salary starting at €2,541 in the first year and increasing to €3,247 in the fourth year (scale P Collective Labor Agreement Dutch Universities (cao));
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labor Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition to the employment conditions laid down in the cao for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has several additional arrangements. For example, there are agreements on professional development, leave arrangements and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment yourself via the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we encourage you to continue to grow.

For more information, please visit working at the Faculty of Science.

Are you an international applicant? Find out more about what our International Service desk does and for more info about the what and how on living in the Netherlands.


About the organization


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

At the Faculty of Science there are 6 departments to make a fundamental connection with: Biology, Chemistry, Information and Computing Sciences, Mathematics, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Physics. Each of these is made up of distinct institutes that work together to focus on answering some of humanity’s most pressing problems. More fundamental still are the individual research groups – the building blocks of our ambitious scientific projects. Find out more about us.

You will be embedded in the Utrecht Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UIPS), which is located at the Utrecht University Campus.


Additional information


If you have any questions, please contact Professor Geert-Jan Boons via

Do you have a question about the application procedure? Please send an email to

We are looking for a candidate who can begin the position within the next 3-6 months.




We aim to embed good equality and diversity practices in all our activities so that we can provide an inclusive, welcoming and inspiring place to work and study.

If you are enthusiastic about this position, then simply respond via this link. Please enclose:

  • your letter of motivation;
  • your curriculum vitae;
  • the names, telephone numbers, and email addresses of at least two references;
  • a copy of your Master’s degree, or a letter from your university stating when your degree will be issued. 

If this specific opportunity isn’t for you, but you know someone who may be interested, please forward this vacancy to them.

Some connections are fundamental – Be one of them






The application deadline is