PhD position 'Epidemiological modelling of antimicrobial resistance gene flow between hosts, impact of feed additives and circular farming' (1.0 FTE)

Studentgerichte ondersteuning
Uren per week: 
36 tot 40
Faculteit of dienst: 
Faculteit Diergeneeskunde
Uiterlijk reageren op: 


Antimicrobials are life-saving medicines used to treat bacterial infections. Bacteria, however, can acquire resistance against antimicrobials, which is an increasingly serious threat to public health. Resistance is often acquired by the uptake of resistance determinants located in mobile genetic elements, which can spread independently between different (human and animal) hosts and environments. Moreover, in the coming years, we expect to see profound changes linked to the implementation of circular processes in farming systems. Understanding how mobile genetic elements that carry antimicrobial resistance genes spread in complex systems, including the effects of changes in feed and husbandry within circular farming programmes on the bacterial and resistance gene distributions and flows, is of utmost importance. 

The Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS) of Utrecht University is looking for a PhD student in the field of (molecular) epidemiology, bioinformatics, and computational science. Specifically, the research will focus on epidemiological modelling of mobilized antimicrobial resistance genes across different hosts, to estimate the risks and contributions of livestock feeding regimes, feed additives and (circular) livestock production chains to the spread of mobile genetic elements carrying antimicrobial resistance genes to humans.

This PhD position is one of two PhD positions within the public-private partnership project ‘DiSSeMINATE -Drivers of Selection and Spread of Mobile Genetic Elements INvolved in Antimicrobial Resistance’. The collaboration project is co-funded by the PPP Allowance made available by Health~Holland, Top Sector Life Sciences & Health, to stimulate public-private partnerships. A large amount of data will be collected and the successful candidate will be involved in the analyses. The employment is initially for one year. After a positive evaluation, the appointment will be prolonged by another three years.

The project is a collaboration between the Veterinary Public Health division of the IRAS, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), the University Medical Center Utrecht, Wageningen University and Research, and two private partners (VION Food and Cargill).

The PhD position will placed at the IRAS, Utrecht, the Netherlands.


A perfect candidate will have:

  • a MSc degree in a quantitative-oriented field, such as theoretical/computational biology, applied mathematics/physics, (bio)statistics,  bioinformatics,  epidemiology, or similar;
  • strong analytical skills and good computer programming skills, particularly programming skills in either R and/or Python are desirable;
  • affinity with (micro)biology, infectious diseases, genomics, and public health in general;
  • creativity and ambition to combine knowledge from epidemiology, (micro)biology and genomics;
  • ability to work both independently and within collaborative multidisciplinary teams;
  • good organizational and time management skills;
  • excellent written and spoken communication skills in English.


We offer a position (1.0 FTE), initially for a period of one year. The gross salary ranges between €2,325 and €2,972 (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information about working at Utrecht University can be found here.

Over de organisatie

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 societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine has a unique position in the Netherlands. Not only is this the only institution where veterinarians are trained, researchers are also working together on innovative scientific research. In addition, the faculty provides specialist clinical care in the largest academic veterinary hospital in Europe. Thanks to this position, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is a point of contact for all veterinary matters, both nationally and increasingly internationally. The faculty employs approximately 900 veterinarians, scientists and support staff and counts 1.500 students.

Aanvullende informatie

For more information, please contact: Dr. Lapo Mughini-Gras, via or


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation via the ‘apply’ button below.

Uiterlijk reageren op 1 juni 2020.